Rice basketball enters their rematch with North Texas with a sour taste in their mouth from the UTEP finish. Can the Owls rebound with a win over the Mean Green?
To say Rice fans, the team and head coach Scott Pera are frustrated with how the final seconds of the Owls’ road loss* to UTEP were officiated would be an understatement. Despite Conference USA’s ruling the “clock did not start on time” there won’t be any changes to the Owls’ record, which now sits at 2-3 in conference play. Time to move on.
Outside of a rough outing in their first CUSA road game against UTSA, Rice has been competitive in each of their five conference games to this point. That includes a 103-87 loss to North Texas, a game in which Rice led by double-digits early on.
Since downing Rice, North Texas has more or less maintained their status as one of the conference’s top teams. They lead all CUSA squads with 16 wins — no other school has more than 13. The rematch with Rice scheduled for broadcast on ESPN+. Radio is available via the Stretch Internet Portal.
North Texas 16-2 (4-1), Last 5 (4-1)
- L, 76-74 @ UTSA
- W, 58-51 @ UTEP
- W, 65-62 vs Southern Miss
- W, 63-59 vs Louisiana Tech
- W, 103-87 @ Rice
Rice 7-11 (2-3), Last 5 – (2-3)
- L, 65-64 @ UTEP
- L, 95-79 @ UTSA
- W, 78-66 vs Louisiana Tech
- W, 73-65 vs Southern Miss
- L, 103-87 vs North Texas
North Texas players to watch
North Texas has been one of the most balanced teams in the conference this season. They spread the ball around on offense and own the third-best field goal percentage against (40.2 percent) in the conference. What makes the Mean Green so challenging is their lack of one definitive scoring threat. Zachary Simmons, Roosevelt Smart and Ryan Woolridge all topped 20 points in their first matchup with Rice. It’s going to take a collective, disciplined defensive effort on Saturday to limit the many scoring options.
Rice keys to victory
Chris Mullins is riding a 12-game streak with 10 or more points, but the freshman guard has been caught in a modest shooting slump over the past several weeks. He’s connected on fewer than 36 percent of his shots in three of the past four games and is shooting 15.4 percent on three-pointers in conference play.
If guys like Robert Martin and Jack Williams are providing a solid baseline, Mullins has the talent to take over a game and win it for the Owls. His potential is still awaiting a big spark. Getting that spark against North Texas could result in the Owls’ biggest road win of the season.
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