With guard Quincy Olivari out for the year, Rice basketball must adjust, and it might be a bumpy process as they iron out the kinks.
A season filled with highs and lows for Rice basketball has continued along its bumpy path, finding its latest jarring cobblestone on Saturday at home against North Texas. The Owls fell to the Mean Green 67-44, their second 20+ point drubbing by the conference leaders in the span of a month and a half.
The last time these two teams met in Denton, Rice has just come off a three-week-long hiatus and was overcoming COVID-19 which had made its way through almost the entirety of the roster. “I don’t even count that game,” head coach Scott Pera said of that prior defeat, able to take solace in knowing his team would respond by winning four of their next five games.
This time, the future is less certain, in large part because of a new curveball. Guard Quincy Olivari broke his wrist late in the second half against UTEP as he was fouled going to the basket. Coach Pera confirmed Olivari would miss the remainder of the season.
“Not only does nobody feel sorry for us that Quincy is out,” Pera said, with a frank honesty that was as transparent as it was direct. “People are happy that Quincy is out because now they have a better chance of beating us.”
While Olivari was limited with a wrist injury in the fall, Rice lost four of seven games in a two-week span. They hadn’t lost that many games over any seven-game stretch since, at least that was the case until this loss to North Texas, the fourth defeat in the Owls’ last seven outings.
Rice basketball now sits at 6-6 in conference play with a hole to fix on their roster. They experimented with playing both bigs Myljyael Poteat and Max Fiedler at the same time on Saturday, a strategy they hadn’t utilized up to this point. More experiments are likely to come. Pera summed it up quite well: “We just have to find a way.”
Photo credit Maria Lysaker
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