Rice basketball saw their season come to an end at the Conference USA Tournament on Wednesday, falling to Marshall in the first round.
Things couldn’t have gotten off to a much worse start for Rice basketball at the Conference USA Tournament. Despite beating Marshall in their previous meeting during the regular season, the Owls fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half.
The deficit would grow as the game progress. Marshall’s 20 point advantage stretched to as many as 32 points in the second half. Every time Rice was able to string a few baskets together, Marshall answered.
No matter what sort of defense Rice put out, Conference USA all-time leading scorer Jon Elmore barely missed. He finished with 32 points, six assists and six rebounds, connecting on 6-of-9 shots from three. His great shooting night was contagious.
Marshall was shooting a blistering 60 percent from the floor through the early minutes of the second half before cooling off to finish shooting 53.6 percent from the floor. That’s the third-best mark by a Rice opponent this season.
On the other side of the court, the Rice offense sputtered. Rice was held to 65 points with most of their production coming under a sizable second half deficit. Robert Martin led the team with 16 points. In his final game for the blue and gray, Jack Williams notched another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Owls knew it was going to take one of their better showings to survive and advance. Things just didn’t click on Wednesday, resulting in a season-ending defeat at the star. Marshall would triumph by a final score of 82-65.
In many ways, this was a transition season for the Owls. The flood of transfers following the 2017-2018 campaign gave way to a young core of players with potential, but plenty to learn. On their best days, this team tested some of the best teams in the conference. The future is bright for Rice basketball. 2019 just wasn’t their year.
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