The 2019-2020 Rice basketball season came to an end on Wednesday. The Owls fell to FIU in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in Frisco.
Rice basketball had a much better spring than they did winter. The Owls had won six of their last nine games entering the Conference USA Tournament. One those wins was over the same FIU team that took the court opposite them in Frisco. All things considered, things were looking up.
In the prior matchup with FIU, Rice won behind a dazzling shooting performance. The Owls started hot but cooled off quickly. Rice made a trio of three-pointers in the first four minutes, jumping out to a 14-7 lead. FIU battled back. Things would eventually be tied 24-all and 28-all in the first half then 46-all and 48-all in the second half. Then things started to slide.
Around the 10-minute mark of the second half, FIU went on a 10-0 run, forcing Rice to play from behind. The Owls cut the deficit to seven before a pivotal sequence.
With just under seven minutes to play, FIU appeared to commit a half court violation. There was no foul called on the play and Scott Pera was furious. He was handed a technical foul with Rice trailing 63-56. FIU made both foul shots and scored on the ensuing possession to take an 11-point lead, their largest of the game.
Rice started the game 4-of-6 from three, finished 4-of-14 for a final clip of 40 percent from deep. They shot 53.4 percent from the field as a team. Shooting well was a must. Rice did that, but was unable handle the FIU offensive attack. FIU defeated Rice 85-76. That was the most they’ve scored in a victory since Jan. 16, a 93-68 win over UAB.
Rice basketball ends the season 15-17, a modest improvement from a 13-19 campaign the season prior and significantly improved from a 7-24 finish in Scott Pera’s first season beginning in 2017.
FULL BOX pic.twitter.com/wtMvY6jPzS
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) March 12, 2020
Player of the Game
Drew Peterson picked the perfect time to have one of the best games of his career. Unfortunately for No. 23, the massive effort could not hold off FIU’s torrid offensive attack. Peterson scored a career-best 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting with five rebounds and three assists. He was the conduit for the Rice offense, rarely leaving the court. His development should be marked as a bright spot in an up-and-down season. On Wednesday, he gave Rice everything he had.