Men’s basketball drops fourth straight, brings record to 7-19
The Rice University men’s basketball team extended its losing streak to four games last week and has lost 14 of its past 16 games. The Owls lost 55-51 to Old Dominion University on Thursday, Feb. 20 and dropped another game 67-55 to East Carolina University on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Rice University men’s basketball team extended its losing streak to four games last week and has lost 14 of its past 16 games. The Owls lost 55-51 to Old Dominion University on Thursday, Feb. 20 and dropped another game 67-55 to East Carolina University on Saturday, Feb. 22. The Owls are now 7-19 overall and are in last place in Conference USA with a record of 2-11.
Rice continued its woes last Thursday, falling just short of a victory. The Owls held a 49-42 lead with six minutes remaining in the game, but the Monarchs ended the game on a 13-2 scoring run, overpowering Rice to win 55-51.
Rice capped off its road trip in Greenville, N.C. on Saturday. The Pirates entered halftime with a 40-24 advantage and held onto the lead for the remainder of the game. The Owls led a substantial comeback, pulling within two points but failing to gain the lead, losing 67-55. Junior guard Dan Peera converted his first two 3-point attempts of the night to record a career high of six points.
Despite his individual success, Peera said the team’s performance is more important than individual statistics.
“Hopefully we can just build on that and gain the support of my team,” Peera said. “As long as everybody gets going, it doesn’t matter how I’ve been playing.”
Freshman forward Sean Obi continued his strong rookie campaign, recording two consecutive double-doubles over the weekend, totaling 11 this season. Obi said he likes the individual accolades, but he wants to start winning more games.
“It’s good to have good stats, but at the end of the day, if you don’t win, it’s just like you’ve done nothing,” Obi said. “I want to help the team the best I can.”
With only three games remaining in the regular season, the Owls are looking to finish the season strong and enter the C-USA tournament with some momentum.
Head Coach Ben Braun said he is still optimistic about the team, stressing that the Owls need to remained focused and play hard for a full 40 minutes.
“I’m not concerned with any streak, whether it’s a losing streak or a winning streak,” Braun said. “I thought we did some things on our recent road trip that indicated to me that our team was stepping up. We really just have to make those extra plays down the stretch in games and finish them out. When we’ve won games this year, we’ve done that.”
Rice looks to start winning at home Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. against the University of Alabama, Birmingham, in what will be the last home game of the season prior to spring break. The Blazers (17-10 overall, 6-7 C-USA) feature the No. 2 highest-scoring offense in the conference, averaging 75 points per game, along with junior guard Chad Frazier, who is the No. 3 scorer in the conference, averaging 18 points per game.
Braun said it is going to be a struggle defensively going against such a high-powered offense, but he said the team is capable of playing solid defense for a full 40 minutes.
“I don’t know [if we’re] going to stop a great scorer, but we [need] to find ways to slow him down,” Braun said. “We’ve got to continue to make sure we’re playing defense from half to half.”
Obi said it was important to use different defensive schemes to slow down the Blazers’ attack.
“We have to try to guard their best players as [best] we can,” Obi said. “If we have to double, play zone or play man, we’ll do whatever we have to do to get some stops and get a win.”
The Owls look to prepare for the conference tournament in March, starting with Thursday’s game against UAB. Peera said the season is not lost yet, as the conference tournament is still on the horizon. If the Owls can perform well there, Peera said the regular season does not matter.
“We [have] three more games, and then it’s the conference tournament,” Peera said. “If we do well in conference, everything we did all season doesn’t matter. It goes out the door, so that’s what we’re really aiming for.”
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