Rice basketball punched its ticket to Frisco, securing a spot in the Conference USA Basketball Tournament with their win over Southern Miss.
Rice basketball did not play their best game in their first trip of the season to Reed Green Coliseum. A narrow halftime deficit turned into a blowout after the Golden Eagles caught fire in the second half, outscoring Rice 47-38 the rest of the way for a 81-68 win.
There were no signs of a repeat performance from either team on Wednesday. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but Rice made the shots that mattered. Rice hit 13 three-pointers compared to six by Southern Miss. The Owls’ suddenly stingy defense forced 18 turnovers, paving the way for extra opportunities and an early double-digit lead.
Leading 32-22 at halftime, Rice did not make it through the second half with ease. Southern Miss hit four consecutive three point shots to erase the double-digit advantage and take a three-point lead. Rice battled back, answering the streaky Southern Miss shooting with steady defense, holding on for the win.
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) March 5, 2020
Player of the Game – Drew Peterson
Peterson had 16 points and led the Owls in rebounds (eight) and assists (four). He made four of his nine shots from distance, leading his by example through all the highs and lows of this back and forth contest. He became the first player in Rice history with 300 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in a season. Peterson’s growth during the season has been remarkable. Wednesday was another testament to that development.
By virtue of their win over Southern Miss, Rice basketball has clinched a spot in the Conference USA Basketball Tournament. No matter what happens in their final regular season game, the Owls will play at least one game in Frisco. Before that, the Owls close out bonus play on Saturday at home against UTEP. That game will tip off at 1:00 p.m. and air on CUSATV.