Men's hoops finishes regular season
Rice University men’s basketball concluded the 2014-15 regular season by splitting two road conference games, winning against the University of Texas, San Antonio and falling to the University of Texas, El Paso. After los- ing both home games to Old Dominion Uni- versity and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte two weeks ago, Rice finished the regular season at 8-10 in conference play and 11-19 overall.
Although Rice held a 46-35 lead at the half, UTSA continued to keep the score close. The Owls led by six with 30 seconds to go, but UTSA managed to bring the score to 75-74 with four seconds remaining. Rice made an- other free throw and secure the 76-74 victory.
Senior forward Seth Gearhart tallied 23 points and made five of his six 3-point at- tempts in his last regular season game. Soph- omore guard Marcus Jackson made a career- high six 3-pointers and junior guard Max Guercy recorded a double-double, recording 12 points and 10 assists.
Head Coach Mike Rhoades said he was proud of the team as they bounced back from a one-point loss against Charlotte.
“Tonight felt like the opposite of Saturday against Charlotte,” Rhoades said. “We didn’t give it to them, we made enough free throws, we got the rebounds we needed, we got the ball inbounds and secured it to earn more free throws. It’s a road win in our league, and I’m really proud of these guys.”
The Owls then came close with a late push, but lost 65-68 against UTEP. The Owls trailed by two at halftime and never trailed by more than six in the second half. Jackson led the team with 19 points on 60 percent shooting. Guercy also contributed 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. The match marked the final game of the regular season for both teams.
According to Rhoades, the team had a chance to win against UTEP but was beaten by a better team.
“We were in a hole, but had a great steal that could have put us back ahead, but we gave the ball right back,” Rhoades said. “We’ve just got to be smarter down the stretch. We could’ve won this game. I won’t say we should have, because UTEP is so well- coached, but we had that opportunity.”
According to Peera, the team must learn how to close out games if they hope to sur- vive the conference tournament.
“When it comes down to those last five minutes of a game, whoever makes the plays is going to win,” Peera said. “We can’t afford to give up those games anymore, because otherwise we’re going home.”
Rice is the ninth seed in the Conference USA tournament in Birmingham, AL, and will begin the playoffs against the University of North Texas.
Gearhart was named to the All-Confer- ence USA Second Team for his performance this season. He averaged 15.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season. Gear- hart was also named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team, along with sophomore guard Marcus Jackson.
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