Rice basketball lost an early lead and dropped their first conference game to North Texas. Can they bounce back against Southern Miss?
An 11-point lead was erased all-too-quickly as a Rice shooting slump combined with a hot-streak for North Texas took the Owls’ first chance at a conference win. They’ll return to the gym on Thursday, Jan. 3 looking to play a full 40 minutes against Southern Miss.
The game is not scheduled for TV broadcast but will be available on CUSA TV and on the radio via the Stretch Internet Portal.
Southern Miss 8-5 (0-1), Last 5 (2-3)
- L, 71-56 @ Louisiana Tech
- W, 66-60 @ South Dakota
- L, 55-51 @ Kansas State
- L, 63-60 @ Wichita State
- W, 81-47 vs Millsaps
Rice 5-9 (0-1), Last 5 – (2-3)
- L, 103-87 vs North Texas
- 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
Southern Miss players to watch
A relatively young Rice team will be tasked with defending a dangerous duo of senior guards for Southern Miss. Cortez Edwards and Tyree Griffin are the only Eagles averaging more than 30 minutes played and 12 points per game. If Rice can limit them and control the ball, they’ll be able to force a host of other role players to carry their team on the road.
The only other Southern Miss player to start in all 13 of the Eagles’ contests to this point is senior guard Kevin Holland. He doesn’t score at as high a rate as Edwards or Griffin, but his versatility and consistency make him an important piece on the floor. He averages 4.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Rice keys to victory
Unlike North Texas, Rice comes into this game averaging more points per game than Southern Miss. Southern Miss won’t be expected to replicate the same level of explosiveness as the Mean Green offense, meaning the Owls should be able to trade punches with the Eagles.
Southern Miss has excelled in protecting the ball (+4.69 turnover margin) whereas Rice has struggled with turnovers throughout the season (-1.93). If the Owls stay calm, play their game and don’t force things they should be more than capable of bringing home the win.