Dec. 20, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball heads downtown to face local rival Houston in the first half of the Dickies Shootout at Toyota Center. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on CSS and CSN Houston.
The Owls (5-5) have won their last two games following a 69-56 decision over Northwood on Thursday at Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice matched last season's win total with the victory and looks to make it three wins in a row in the 76th meeting with the Cougars.
Rice returns to the Toyota Center for the third time since the building opened a decade ago. The Owls fell to No. 2 Texas on Dec. 5, 2005, 85-58, in their first trip downtown. Two years later, No. 4 Texas dropped Rice by an 80-54 decision.
On Thursday, Rice trailed by double figures in the first half but used a 14-point run to take the lead for good in a 69-56 win over Northwood. 4,924 fans (including 4,000 local elementary students) packed Tudor Fieldhouse for the game.
Austin Ramljak knocked down all four of his three-pointers early in the second half as the Owls took a commanding 16-point lead and the senior tied for the team high with 14 points. Keith Washington made his third start of the season and tallied 14 points of his own.
Sean Obi notched his second-straight double-double and third of the season with 11 points and 11 boards. Rice's 52 rebounds were a season high, which was beneficial since the team shot a season-worst 29.9 percent from the field.
Tulsa, Okla. (BOK Center)
Men's Basketball Edged Late in Tournament Opener
Rice University men's basketball overcame an 18-point deficit with an incredible second-half run, including 16-straight points from Tamir Jackson, before the Owls eventually fell to Houston, 72-67, in the first round of the Conference USA Championship at the BOK Center on Wednesday night.
Houston leads the all-time series, 58-17, after taking two of the three meetings last season.
Two of last season's three games saw incredible Rice comebacks, as the Owls powered back from a 15-point deficit at home to notch a 79-69 win over the Cougars in the first meeting. UH claimed an 84-62 win on its home floor in the second meeting.
The cross-town rivals met for a third time in Tulsa at the Conference USA Championship in March. Rice fell behind by 18 points late in the first half, but 30 points from senior Tamir Jackson helped the Owls erase the Cougar lead and tie the game with 11 minutes remaining in regulation. Houston eventually prevailed to advance in the tournament by a 72-67 margin.
Ramljak averages 11.0 points in three games against Houston, while Max Guercy adds 9.0 points from three games last season, including 21 in the Owls' home win..
Scouting Houston (7-5)
The Cougars have dropped three of their last four games after starting the season 6-2.
TaShawn Thomas leads the squad with 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. The squad shoots a stout 46.1 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from downtown.
Houston is 0-2 in neutral site games this season, with both setbacks coming at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Cougars are 6-1 at home and 1-2 on the road following last weekend's 79-76 overtime loss at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Rice takes a break for the holidays before traveling to Texas on Dec. 30. That game will broadcast nationally on the Longhorn Network. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Erwin Center.