Big deficits have become the norm for Rice Basketball who failed to claw out from a double-digit hole on Monday, falling to North Texas.
Things started out well for Rice basketball on the road against North Texas. The Owls scored the first two baskets, keeping the Mean Green within striking distance throughout the first half. Zach Crisler had 11 first-half points. The teams were even with 13 rebounds apiece and both shot better than 50 percent from the field. Yet Rice found themselves down by eight at the break.
The defensive woes which had plagued the Owls in recent weeks lingered into the second half. North Texas shot 45.5 percent from the field in the second half, worse than their 54 percent shooting for the game, and still managed to double the lead — and then some.
The margin would finally balloon to 20 points, courtesy of a North Texas three-pointer in the final second of play. The final shot put Rice down by 20 for the fourth time in seven conference games.
When they needed a spark the cold hands grew colder. Rice shot 26.9 percent from the field in the second half, converting three of 10 attempts from three. North Texas outscored Rice in the pain 32-20 and scored 16 points off Rice turnovers to the Owls’ eight.
FINAL | North Texas 79 – Rice 59. pic.twitter.com/QpfhTMznoF
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 21, 2020
Player of the game – Zach Crisler
Just about everything Crisler did in the first half ended up for the better. The freshman had a career-high 11 points and six rebounds, connecting on four of five shots from the field. Then he vanished. Crisler played 10 minutes in the second half with no shots, no points, two rebounds and two turnovers. His strong start was encouraging.
Rice basketball returns to Tudor Fieldhouse for a much-neeeded homestand over the next two weeks. Rice will host UTEP on Thursday (Jan. 23) and UTSA (Jan. 25) on Saturday. They’ll have a week off after the UTSA game before hosting North Texas on Feb. 1.
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