Rice basketball fell to UTEP in their final regular season game, their last before the Conference USA Tournament next week.
A game of runs ended running away from Rice basketball at Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday. Every time UTEP took a lead, Rice was able to battle back to within one score. The back and forth continued through the first half into the early moments on the second half. Then UTEP took a double-digit lead and held on for the win.
Rice has lived and died by the three point shot this season. That came to fruition once again in the loss to UTEP. Rice shot 25.7 percent from three, well below their season average of 34.3 percent. Two of their nine made threes came in the final minute and half, when the Owls had resorted to fouling to extend the game. The same shooting woes had doomed the Owls in their two prior games with UTEP.
FINAL BOX | UTEP 77 – Rice 72 pic.twitter.com/IBl3kdRz5z
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) March 7, 2020
Player of the Game – Robert Martin
The senior forward came close to a double-double in the last home game of his Rice career. He finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists, despite missing all five of his shots from three. Even though he came off the bench, he played 32 minutes, the second most on the team to Trey Murphy and more than every other Rice bench player combined. He will be missed next season.
Rice basketball clinched a spot in the Conference USA Basketball Tournament earlier in the week with a win over Southern Miss. Saturday’s game against UTEP was for seeding purposes. The Miners clinched the highest seed in bottom pod, leaving the 12-Seed for Rice. The Owls were the 11-Seed last year and were bounced in the first round. The full bracket should be set for the 2020 tournament by the end of the day.