Rice basketball picked up their first conference win this week. Can they make it a winning streak with a win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday?
Rice and Louisiana Tech sport eerily similar CUSA records after two games of conference play. Both squads are 1-1 with wins over Southern Miss (0-2) and losses to North Texas (2-0). They’ll meet in an earlier rubber game of sorts on Saturday, Jan. 5. The winner will improve to 2-1, no worse than tied for second place in CUSA.
Louisiana Tech 11-4 (1-1), Last 5 (1-4)
- L, 63-59 @ North Texas
- W, 71-56 vs Southern Miss
- W, 73-68 vs Texas A&M CC
- W, 83-62 @ Louisiana
- W, 96-80 vs Mississippi Valley State
Rice 6-9 (1-1), Last 5 – (2-3)
- W, 73-65 vs Southern Miss
- 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
Louisiana Tech players to watch
Guard Daquan Bracey is one of the most productive shooters in the conference. He enters Saturday’s contest with the Owls with a 46.5 percent shooting percentage from the field, sixth best in CUSA. He leads Louisiana Tech in scoring (13.8 points per game), assists (4.1) and steals (1.2).
Checking in at 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-7, respectively, Oliver Powell and Anthony Duruji provide a strong interior presence. Both forward average at least six rebounds per game and have the ability to score in bunches.
Louisiana Tech can score. If not one of those three, expect to see sharpshooter Amorie Archibald who has hit a team-high 28 three-point shots.
Rice keys to victory
Closing out games has been a struggle for Rice in the early going. The last time out against Southern Miss might have been one of the Owls’ best finishes of the season. The Eagles connected on just three shots over the final five minutes, failing to regain a lead they’d had for most of the game.
Louisiana Tech is one of the stronger teams in Conference USA. The Bulldogs went a perfect 7-0 in December before stumbling in their first game of the New Year. North Texas held them to 59 points, but they’re still averaging 78.6 points per game. If Louisiana Tech gets hot the Owls could find themselves buried quickly, making staying disciplined and contesting shots a must on Saturday.
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