Rice basketball made plenty of big shots, but missed their last attempt. That lead to a crushing last-second UTSA layup and the Owls’ fifth straight loss.
Trailing 13-5 after barely five minutes of game time had elapsed, Rice basketball was on the verge of another lopsided defeated. Not only did the Owls manage to avoid that pain, they thundered back from the eight-point deficit, outscoring UTSA 14-2 over the next five minutes to take a 19-15 lead. Game on.
The energy and strain Rice exuded in their narrow loss to UTEP on Thursday galvanized this team to keep fighting. They did not execute perfectly, but their will to battle through eight lead changes was noticeably different from where they’d been even a week ago.
It was Rice that jumped out to the double-digit lead in this one. Josh Parrish pushed the lead to 10 midway through the first half. Trey Murphy made it 11 with a three, one of a season-high 18 three-point baskets the Owls made during the contest. Rice hadn’t made that many threes in a game since November 29, 2013, an overtime loss to Rider.
Like the Rider game, the Owls’ hot hand eventually cooled. With the game tied at 88, Rice had the ball and a chance for the go-ahead bucket. Not only did they miss the shot, UTSA corralled the ball and dashed down the court for a layup of their own. A halfcourt heave fell short, dooming Rice to another strenuous defeat. Midway through C-USA play, Rice sits in last place.
FINAL BOX | UTSA 90 – RICE 88 pic.twitter.com/QWV8Jr79Ck
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 26, 2020
Player of the Game – Ako Adams
Ako Adams had 21 points, 18 of which came from six three-pointers. The senior’s final trey pushed his career total to 201, officially the most in school history. His timely shots, three assists and four rebounds continued to will Rice back into the game. Thanks to Adams’ resolve, this was a slugfest that Rice very much could have won.
Rice basketball will get a brief respite after playing five games in the last 10 games. They won’t play on Thursday, returning to the court for the next time on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Tudor Fieldhouse against North Texas.
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