Rice Basketball rallied late, but came up just short on the road against FIU, dropping their third straight Conference USA game.
Cameron Sheffield entered the starting lineup and quickly got things started for Rice basketball against FIU on Saturday. His three-pointer opened the scoring, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Owls from falling behind quickly on the road.
A swift 9-0 run put the Panthers in front by six. That advantage would strengthen to 10 points around the midpoint of the first half and reach as many as 17 points before Rice was able to begin to chip away early in the second half.
Last Time Out: Rice Basketball knocked out by UAB on the road
The Owls’ second half surge was sparked by Travis Evee and Carl Pierre, both of which contributed multiple three-pointers to trim the large gap to a 61-61 ballgame with just under eight minutes to play. Trailing by three points in the final minute, Rice turned to fouls but was unable to get the margin closer than two points even with a last-second three from Chris Mullins as the clock expired.
The loss is the Owls’ third consecutive conference loss since they lost guard Quincy Olivari to injury. It ties their longest losing streak of the season, a three-game drought from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30 including losses to Oakland, Fordham and Texas State.
Player Spotlight | Travis Evee
Evee bounced back from a slower-shooting night from three on Thursday, splashing six triples on 14 attempts, including several in the second half to spark the initial Rice rally. He and Carl Pierre (3-for-8 from three) are going to have to be the sparkplugs in this offense and both contributed meaningful buckets to the cause against FIU.
Stat Corner | Out-glassed
Rebounding was a crucial differentiator in this game. Not only did FIU outrebound Rice 42-28, the Panthers had 12 offensive rebounds to the Owls six. That led to more opportunities and more second-chance points. Shedding size in favor of shooting comes with a risk. Rice found themselves on the wrong side of that margin on Saturday.
Final Box | FIU 80 – Rice 78
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) February 20, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice basketball will have a few days to regroup. They host Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Feb. 24 and Southern Miss on Saturday, Feb. 26 in their final homestand before finishing the regular season on the road prior to the start of the conference tournament in March.
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