Dec. 29, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - Rice University men's basketball plays its final non-conference road game of the regular season with a trip to Texas. Monday's game is set for 1 p.m. and will air nationally on the Longhorn Network.
The Owls (5-6) had won three of their last four games before falling in a 54-52 contest against Houston on Dec. 21. Austin Ramljak nailed five three-pointers to lead the Owls with 15 points while Seth Gearhart hauled in a career-high nine rebounds to accompany nine points.
Rice shot just 30.5 percent from the field in the game, but a strong rebound advantage gave the Owls 16 more shot attempts than UH.
Rice leads Conference USA with 8.91 three-pointers per game and ranks fifth out of the 16-team league with a 34.8 percent accuracy from downtown. The Owls also pace C-USA with a 76.0 percent mark in defensive rebounding.
Freshman Sean Obi ranks fourth in the league with 9.2 rebounds per game and his 62.2 field goal percentage places him third. Ramljak ranks fifth in the nation with 3.91 three-pointers made per game. The senior shoots 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Texas Pulls Away Late, 57-41
Rice University men's basketball led by as many as six points throughout the first half, but Texas pulled away late in the contest for a 57-41 win at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday afternoon. Austin Ramljak came off the bench to lead the Owls (3-9) with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with four three-pointers. After missing their first five shots of the game, the Owls sank five of their next six to overcome a four-point deficit and jump out to a pair of six-point leads in the first half. Thanks in part to a 12-4 advantage in free throw attempts, Texas climbed back to tie and take one more brief lead before the half.
Rice last defeated Texas on Jan. 6, 1996 in Austin by a score of 80-69. The Longhorns have won eight-straight since then, including last season's 57-41 contest on Dec. 29.
The lead changed hands four times last season in both halves before Texas manufactured a late run to pull away for a double-figure win.
Ramljak knocked down 4-of-7 three-pointers off the bench to lead Rice with 14 points, while Tamir Jackson added 12 of his own.
Neither team shot 40 percent in the game, but the Longhorns' 29-6 advantage in foul shots and 46-23 margin on the boards proved to be the differences in the end.
Scouting the Longhorns (10-2)
Texas suffered just its second loss of the season in its last outing, a 92-78 defeat at the hands of No. 5 (AP) Michigan State on Dec. 21.
The Longhorns are 7-1 at home on the season. The team averages 79.3 points per game on 44.0 percent field goal shooting. The team shoots 34.7 from downtown but allows opponents to make 7.8 three-pointers per game at a 35.9 percent clip.
Texas out-rebounds its opponents by 8.0 boards per game, including 15.1 offensive rebounds per contest.
Five players score in double figures for the Longhorns, led by Jonathan Holmes' 12.9 points per game. He adds 7.0 rebounds and shoots a solid 86.4 percent from the foul line.
Rice and Texas have two common opponents through the first two months of the season, as UT topped South Alabama, 84-77, and Houston Baptist, 89-61, at home in November. Both games were part of the CBE Hall of Fame Regional Round.
Rice returns home for its final non-conference game of the regular season on Saturday when the Owls host Harvard.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.