After splitting a pair of road games in South Florida this weekend against Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, the men’s basketball team are in second place in the West Division of Conference USA. After starting the season 6-15, the Owls have won four of their last five, improving their record to 10-6 overall and 7-7 in conference play.Despite getting outscored on the bench 0-14, FIU ended Rice’s three-game winning streak by defeating the Owls 60-56. The Owls, however, rebounded to defeat Florida Atlantic 76-69 to give the team its 10th win of the year. Against FIU, the Owls found themselves down 10 late in the game, but came back to lead by four points with two minutes remaining. FIU, however, was able to come back and secure the victory with two late three-pointers.Head Coach Mike Rhoades said inconsistency on defense and unnecessary fouls ultimately led to the team’s loss.“We weren’t consistent on defense today and we didn’t get stops,” Rhoades said. “You’ve got to go earn a victory, and we didn’t do that today. We can’t have our guys that play a lot of minutes picking up silly fouls. Our bench is getting better, and we’ve seen that over the last couple weeks.”Senior forward Seth Gearhart, who was named Conference USA’s Player of the Week, had his second straight double-double against FIU with 13 points and 11 rebounds, matching his career-high in rebounds. Sophomore guard Marcus Jackson contributed 10 points and junior guard Max Guercy had five assists against FIU.Going into halftime against FAU, the Owls held a 39-32 advantage, a lead they maintained for the remainder of the game. Guercy scored a career-high 25 points on 69 percent shooting from the field, adding six assists. Gearhart scored 24 points and also shot 4-6 from behind the three-point line.Rhoades said he was proud of the way the team, especially Guercy, performed against FAU. Rhoades said he was especially excited after the win brought Rice to .500 in conference play. “I’m really excited we found a way to gut it out,” Rhoades said. “I was really proud of our guys the way we handled the last few minutes. On the road, sometimes you’ve got to win ugly, and tonight was ugly, but we’ll take it. I know [Guercy] had a couple turnovers late, but he played a great game. He really brought us some energy, and it went a long way.”The Owls have two home games this week on Thursday, Feb. 26 against Old Dominion University, and on Saturday, Feb. 28 against the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The tipoffs for both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice University men’s basketball needed two consecutive double-overtime wins to extend their winning streak to three games, their longest since December 2011.Rice played two games this week against Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama, Birmingham. The Owls won both to move to 9-15 overall and 6-6 in conference play. The Owls have now won two more games this season than all of last year.Although Rice held a nine-point lead going into the second half against MTSU, the game went to overtime tied 53-53. The Owls led by three near the end of the first overtime, but a free throw and putback layup from MTSU tied the game again at 66 apiece. Rice then held MTSU to two points in the final period of overtime to take a 71-68 victory. Sophomore guard Marcus Jackson had a game-high 24 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and also connected on three of his six three-point attempts. Junior guard Max Guercy also contributed 16 points and five steals. Despite the Owls’ difficulty maintaining leads, Rhoades said he was satisfied with the way the team remained focused and determined to win the game through both overtime periods.“Our guys were smiling in the huddle after regulation and they were ready to move on,” Rhoades said. “We always talk about moving forward and making the next play. Today was a great example of that.”Against UAB, senior forward Seth Gearhart tied the game with 26 seconds left at 59-59. The Owls trailed by as many as seven during the first period of overtime, but came back to take the lead with 13 seconds remaining. UAB then hit a free throw to tie the game again at 71. In the second overtime, Rice never looked back and outscored UAB 11-2 to win the game 82-73.Gearhart, who scored a career-high 31 points last week, had 10 rebounds and another career-high 32 points against UAB. Gearhart shot eight for 11 from the field and went four-for-five from behind the three-point line. Guercy scored 21 points and contributed 10 assists for his first career double-double. Head Coach Mike Rhoades said while he was happy Rice pulled out the victory, the team needs to learn how to playwith the lead.“We were playing pretty well and we had a lead, but we were playing not to lose,” Rhoades said. “You can’t play like that in college basketball. We haven’t had many leads like that, and late in the game we’ve got to get better.”According to Rhoades, the UAB game was an intense matchup that demonstrated the tenacity of his team.“Both teams played so darn hard; there was a lot of emotion out there,” Rhoades said. “I’m so proud of our guys and how we fought and kept fighting. I’m just really proud of the guys’ effort and their approach — that was a lot of fun.”Gearhart was named Conference USA Player of the Week after averaging 21 points and 7.5 rebounds in an average of 41.5 minutes of action. Gearhart currently leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game, including a 40.6 three-point percentage.The Owls embark on a two-game road trip against Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University before returning home to face Old Dominion University on Thursday, Feb. 26.
The Rice University men’s basketball team suffered two consecutive losses on the road this week to the University of Houston 48-59 and the University of North Texas 65-75.Although Rice and Houston were tied 22-22 at halftime, Houston managed to pull away in the second half, outscoring the Owls by 11 points despite Rice shooting 55 percent from the field. Head Coach Mike Rhoades said loss of focus was an important factor in the defeat against Houston. “Once again we got off to a good start,” Rhoades said. “I thought it was one of our games where we just lacked enough focus to continue through the game. We did some good things early, got it going a little bit, but we just allowed Houston too many extra shots. We weren’t as aggressive on both ends of the court as we have been in the near past.”Rhoades also said the team came out strong against North Texas, but once again played a weaker second half. Despite scoring a season-high 15 three-pointers and recording their highest-scoring first half of the season, Rice’s offense stagnated in the second half. Rice led 45-37 at halftime, but was held to only 20 second-half points on 21 percent shooting while the Mean Grean scored 38 points. “We played a great first half, but they are a very talented team,” Rhoades said. “Our defense was just okay. We had a lot of confidence going into the second half … We just did not get off to a good start [in the second half]. Then it became a dogfight, and we just allowed them too much confidence [and too many easy scores] throughout the second half. The Owls have two upcoming road games against Marshall University and Western Kentucky University. Rhoades said the team needs to improve its practices to win key road conference games.“We just [have] to have a really good week of practice and prepare to pull these games out,” Rhoades said. “They’re both good programs, but you know it’s league play, so you have to find a way to win on the road.”Rice’s next home game is on Thursday, Feb. 12 against Middle Tennessee State University.
The Rice University men’s basketball team (6-12, 3-4 C-USA) went 1-1 last week against the University of Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech University. The Owls came back to defeat Southern Miss 58-56 after being down by as many as 10 points. Sophomore guard Marcus Jackson scored the winning free throws after he was fouled when the game was tied with fewer than six seconds left. Jackson led the team with 19 points and senior forward Seth Gearhart added 16.Head Coach Mike Rhoades said he was pleased with how the team was able to come back in the game.“I was really proud of our guys,” Rhoades said. “We got down 10 there, and we could have bagged it. We’ve had a lot of games this season where we were in the position and came back but couldn’t get over the hump, but we [did].”Rice jumped out to an early lead against Louisiana Tech, who is currently second in Conference USA with a record of 15-5. The Owls never recovered after the 28-24 halftime deficit and ultimately lost 45-58. Gearhart scored 16 points for the second consecutive game, making it 12 straight games that he has scored double-digit points. Jackson contributed 12 points in the game.According to Rhoades, Louisiana Tech’s defense played tough and did not allow Rice many scoring opportunities.“It was a hard game to score in today,” Rhoades said. “It wasn’t lack of effort. I thought our guys did a great job of being composed and continuing to fight. We did not shoot the ball well, and their athleticism had something to do with that.”Gearhart is one of the 30 seniors in the country nominated for the national Senior CLASS Award. The award honors student athletes who excel in community, classroom, character and competition. The Owls will begin a four-game road trip on Wednesday, Jan. 28, against the University of Houston, their final non-conference game. The next home game is Thursday, Feb. 12 against Middle Tennessee State University.
Men’s basketball won their fifth game of the season, defeating the University of North Carolina, Charlotte 66-63 on Jan. 17 after losing to Old Dominion University 63-53 on Jan. 15.Trailing by six points with 80 seconds remaining in the game, the Owls defense held the 49ers scoreless in the final three and a half minutes of regulation to force overtime.Rice never trailed in the extra period, hitting four of five shots from the field and going four for four from the free throw line en route to securing the 66-63 victory. Senior forward Seth Gearhart scored 16 of his 18 total points in the second half, and sophomore guard Marcus Jackson led the team with 20 points in the game.Head Coach Mike Rhoades said the team performed well in the final minutes when the game’s outcome was in doubt.“We were down [by] six with about 1:20 left, and we just did a really good job fighting back,” Rhoades said. “I was really proud of our guys. They played with a level of toughness and resolve late in the game that really helped us.”According to Rhoades, the team’s strengths cannot be measured by the team’s 5-11 overall record.“We really think we could play with anybody in the league,” Rhoades said. “The biggest thing is not the standings and the records. [It’s that] with six minutes on the clock we want to be in the game and give ourselves a chance to win.”The victory against UNC Charlotte marked the first win following a three-game losing streak for Rice. According to Rhoades, the team has been steadily improving throughout the year and should compete better in the second half of the season.“We’re excited; we’re moving forward,” Rhoades said. “We’re getting better, and we have a lot of guys contributing and improving here. It’s confidence play, and we’re excited about that.”The Owls have two home games coming up next week against the University of Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech University. Rhoades said he is excited to return to Tudor Fieldhouse and hopes the home field advantage will energize the team.“[They’re] two very good basketball programs,” Rhoades said. “We will definitely have our hands full, but we’re excited to be back home with the students here. We really want the students to get out and really support our team. Let’s have some fun.”The game against Southern Miss will tip off at 7 p.m Thursday, Jan. 22 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls will play their second straight home game Saturday, Jan. 24 against Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m.
The Rice University men’s basketball team opened conference play on Friday, Jan. 2 with a 15-point win over the University of Texas at San Antonio. They then dropped two games to the University of Texas, El Paso and University of North Texas. The Owls are currently 1-2 in conference play and 4-10 overall. Before conference play began, Rice played the University of Texas, Austin, which was ranked No. 10 nationally at the time of the game.Although UT won the game 66-55 with a late run, Head Coach Mike Rhoades said even though they did not win, the game showed them they could compete at a high level.“We really played well,” Rhoades said. “We played well enough to win ... We were right there. We have to keep getting better so we can learn to win games. The Texas game showed us that we can play with a lot of people if we’re on our game, follow the game plan, and play together.”Over the past three conference games, sophomore guard Marcus Jackson has averaged 23 points per game on 60.5 percent shooting from the field. Rhoades said Jackson’s increase in scoring is not the only thing that has changed about Jackson’s game and praised him as an emerging leader in the team.”It’s not even a scoring streak as much as it is [experience],” Rhoades said. “Early in the year, he was really pressuring himself to do everything. All we talked to him about was [playing] better defense — just keep playing better defense and your offense will come. He’s a good player and he’s taking the right shots. What we see is that he’s [taken] a leadership role.”Rhoades said he was proud of the team’s commitment to practice over winter break. “I’m really proud of this team, [mainly] the effort and the approach they’ve had over break,” Rhoades said. “We’ve been [on campus] for a long time just by ourselves and we’ve gotten better and closer as a team. I’m really proud of them. We’ve come up short in some games but we won our first [conference] game against UTSA. I think it was the first time in four years we started off the league with a win. We played well enough to have UTEP on the ropes. The other day against North Texas, we didn’t play very well, … but we found a way to get back in it and almost pull it out.” Rice has road games against Old Dominion University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in the upcoming week. The next home game will be on Jan. 22 against the University of Southern Mississippi at 7 p.m.Old Dominion currently has the best record in the conference, going 13-2 over the course of the season, and 2-1 in conference play. UNC-Charlotte is sitting in the middle of the pack with an overall record of 7-8. Old Dominion has the No. 1 scoring defense in C-USA, allowing 55.9 points per game. Converseley, Rice allows an average of 65.4. The game against ODU will tip off on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m.
The Rice University men’s basketball team lost all three games this past weekend in the Great Alaskan Shootout, an annual early-season tournament held in Anchorage, Alaska. In the first match, Rice played Mercer University, who beat No. 2 ranked Duke University in the NCAA Tournament last year. The game went into overtime, with Rice eventually losing 77-71. The next day, Rice lost 76-74 to Washington State University. Rice lost its final game on Saturday, their third in less than 40 hours, to Division II University of Alaska, Anchorage 65-54. Senior forward Seth Gearhart led the team in scoring over the weekend, with 49 points total, including a season-high 22 against aWashington State.Head Coach Mike Rhoades said the team continually got better throughout the tournament but was stunted by fatigue at the end of the week.“The crazy thing about [the tournament] is we got better, we just didn’t get the results we wanted,” Rhoades said. “We played three nights in a row, with our last two games being real quick turn arounds. We didn’t have much left in the tank on the third night. No excuses, we still have to find a way and overcome being tired.”Rhoades also said the team had trouble closing out games.“We just couldn’t put 40 minutes together to pull out a win,” Rhoades said. “That was disappointing. ... This is going to be a process. One thing I can say about our guys is they have a great attitude about it. They know this process is going to take time, but we’re close.”The Owls’ next game is Wednesday, Dec. 3 against Houston Baptist University, followed by a game against St. Edward’s University Saturday, Dec. 6.