Rice basketball went 5-8 in non-conference play, but hope to put all of that behind them with a big win in their first CUSA game against North Texas.
The final game of 2018 marks the start of a new stretch of the season for Rice basketball. The Owls have 14 games remaining on their regular season schedule, all coming against Conference USA opponents. The next contest comes at home against North Texas on Saturday, Dec. 29. TV broadcast will be on ESPN+ with radio available on the Stretch Internet Portal.
North Texas 12-1 (0-0), Last 5 (4-1)
- W, 77-66 vs UAPB
- W, 74-65 @ New Mexico
- W, 63-61 @ UT Arlington
- W, 80-69 @ Indiana State
- L, 73-57 @ Oklahoma
Rice 5-8 (0-0), Last 5 – (2-3)
- L, 83-66 vs Omaha
- W, 75-67 @ Rio Grande Valley
- L, 99-89 (OT) vs UC Santa Barbara
- W, 78-73 vs St Edwards
- L, 75-68 vs Lamar
North Texas players to watch
The Mean Green enter the game with the best record among all CUSA teams thanks to a well-balanced lineup. Six different North Texas players average at least 10 points per game. Junior guard Ryan Woolridge has been the catalyst for the offense this year, scoring single-digit points three times in 13 games. He registered a triple-double earlier this month against Indiana State.
On the defensive end, sophomore forward Zachary Simmons is one of eight players in the conference averaging at least one block per game. He’s been a rebounding machine, of late, grabbed eight or more boards in for of his last five games.
Rice keys to victory
For Rice, any upset attempt is going to start with shooting. The Owls shot 35.1 percent from the field against Omaha their last time out, the second-worst shooting performance of the season. They had a season-high 36 three-point attempts but connected on just nine (25.0 percent).
Chris Mullins, who has carried this team over the last few weeks, scored a team-high 17 points against Omaha but needed someone else to step up on a tough shooting night. It’s going to take a full team performance to beat North Texas.
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