Rice basketball found a way to grind out a low-scoring, defensive affair against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday night to stay unbeaten at home.
Winners of three straight, Rice basketball brought plenty of positive history with them into a midweek matchup with Prairie View A&M. The Owls were undefeated on their home court this season and had never lost to Prairie View A&M in program history. Those streaks quickly became irrelevant anecdotes as soon as both teams hit the court and the home team was put to the test.
Neither side shot the ball well out of the gate, but the Owls’ offensive output was particularly troubling. At their lowest they were 5-of-18 (28%) from the floor, somehow keeping the game within a six-point margin throughout the first 19 minutes without finding much success from the floor, at least until a three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Panthers a seven-point lead, their largest of the night.
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Prairie View would strike first in the second half, led by Braden Bell who drilled his third three-pointer in as many shots to extend their lead to 12 points. He’d been 2-of-12 entering the game but couldn’t seem to miss on Wednesday night before eventually fouling out.
Foul trouble was an issue for both sides and Rice used it to its advantage, knocking down 26 free throws to help them climb out of that large hole. In dire need of a spark, Quincy Olivari obliged, almost single-handily keeping the Owls afloat with 13 consecutive points in less than five minutes — none of his teammates had as many points in the full 40 minutes — until Travis Evee knocked down consecutive threes to tie the game.
Once Rice got level, it was game on. Prairie View A&M earned a meager two-point lead following Rice pulling even, but that would be it. Olivari put Rice in front for good with a free throw, one of a career-high 11 makes from the charity stripe — and the Owls held on to close it out.
Player Spotlight | Cameron Sheffield
While Olivari was lifting the team with his shooting stroke, Sheffield was dominating on the glass. He led all players with 15 rebounds, including four offensive boards. He only took three shots, but his impact on the game was massive.
“I couldn’t take him out. I just had tremendous trust in what he was doing,” head coach Scott Pera said after the game. “People have roles on the team. Not only is he good at this role, he’s embracing his role.”
Likewise, Olivari was quick to heap on his own praise. “It’s the reason we won,” he said, referencing Sheffield’s performance.
Final Box | Rice 70 – PVAMU 62
FINAL | @RiceMBB 70 – PVAMU 62
Owls rally from down 12 to stay perfect at home and improve to 5-2. pic.twitter.com/CM5PHogpsZ
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) December 1, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice basketball will hit the road next after playing four straight games in the span of two weeks at Tudor Fieldhouse. They’ll play in San Marcos, TX at Texas State on Sunday. The tip-off for that game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on ESPN+.
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