Rice basketball capped off the month of January with their first road victory in conference play, taking down Charlotte 65-61.
It didn’t take long for Rice to get rolling on Thursday night in North Carolina. After trading punches with the home team the Owls extended their early lead to 11 points, the widest advantage they’d had at the midpoint of any game yet this year. Things were looking good.
A double-digit lead against a 5-win team is right where the Owls had hoped to be, but life is never easy on the road. Charlotte battled back, erasing the deficit and then some as they outscored the Rice 17-4 in the first eight minutes of the second half. The shots weren’t falling, but Rice persevered.
Rather than cave, the Owls battled back overcoming a 38.5 percent shooting night with 11 made three-pointers on 22 shots. Trey Murphy, Ako Adams and Robert Martin all got involved from deep as the Owls pulled away for their first CUSA road win of the season.
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Player of the game – Ako Adams
Rice trailed 58-53 with less than 3:30 remaining in the contest. They needed someone to seize control and will the team to victory. Ako Adams stepped up scoring eight of the final 12 points for Rice, doubling the amount of scoring he’d racked up in 36 minutes over the final minutes. The junior point guard has been a pacesetter for the Owls this season. When he’s clicking, the entire offense is better.
The road trip continues on Saturday. Rice will stick around the east coast, heading north to Virginia to take on a red-hot Old Dominion squad that’s won four of their last five games. Knocking off the Monarchs would be the Owls’ most impressive conference win to date.