Both Rice basketball teams were in action against UTSA on Monday. Here’s a brief rundown of how the men and women faired and what’s next for both.
Rice basketball fell behind big, but rallied late with Max Fiedler’s triple-double outing powering the Owls past UTSA on the road.
Following a stretch of games in which Rice basketball had built early leads and tried to hold on, the Owls found themselves in the exact opposite scenario on Monday night at UTSA. The Owls went ice cold from the three-point line while UTSA began the night on a heater. Rice began the night 2-of-12 from long range. UTSA started with makes on 8-of-14 triples. And just like that, an 18-point UTSA lead materialized.
Somehow, Rice thundered back. With 4:02 to play, the Owls trailed by 10. With 1:45 to go, they trailed by six. Finally, with 1.1 on the clock and the Owls nursing a miraculous one-point lead, Rice sent UTSA’s Japhet Medor to the line to shoot two. He made one and overtime commenced.
Cameron Sheffield and Mekhi Mason put Rice in front by five, then Travis Evee and Quincy Olivari followed with a combination of threes and free throws to build a nine-point advantage. They’d win by that margin, capping off one of the more improbable comebacks in the conference this season.
Final Box | Rice 88 – UTSA 79 (OT)
FINAL | @RiceMBB 88 – UTSA 79
Owls rally from down 18 to force overtime and win it late. pic.twitter.com/rWgx2q4MPG
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 17, 2023
Key takeaway | Triple-Double Max
Max Fiedler has been praised for his ability as a facilitator for years. The veteran big man is one of the best in the game when it comes to getting the ball to his teammates, but cracking the double-digit mark in assists on Monday (11) set up an even more impressive feat. With 13 rebounds and 24 points, Fiedler became the second player in program history to record a triple-double.
The assists came in overtime, part of an incredible performance that sparked the thrilling come-from-behind victory. It’s not uncommon for Fiedler’s contributions on the court to go well beyond what shows up in the box score. Against UTSA, that box score reflected his significance loud and clear.
Up Next: at North Texas – Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Rice women’s basketball fought through some early shooting woes and exploded from the three-point line to beat UTSA.
Rice women’s basketball was clearly looking for an early three-point bonanza against UTSA but the expected fireworks fizzled early on. The Owls shot a miserable 1-for-12 on three-pointers in the first quarter alone, accounting for nearly seventy percent of their average of 18.6 three-point attempts for the game in the first 10 minutes as they fell behind 20-12.
Despite falling behind, Rice did not abandon the game plan. They took 10 more three-pointers in the second quarter, this time hitting four of them, and rallied to retake the lead in the final minute before halftime. After trailing by as many as 11, the Owls were right back in the mix at the break.
Both teams traded blows in the third before Rice appeared to have opened up a commanding fourth quarter lead, going up 11 points on a three by Katelyn Crosthwait with 3:19 to play. UTSA would claw back to within two points in the final 30 seconds, but Rice did enough to hang on for the win.
Final Box | Rice 78 – UTSA 76
FINAL | @RiceWBB 78 – UTSA 76
Owls hang on at home! pic.twitter.com/bKvc9EVNPg
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 17, 2023
Key takeaway | Three-point throwdown
Head coach Lindsay Edmonds and her staff had noticed UTSA play more zone in a recent game and was ready to act on it should the Roadrunners do something similar against the Owls on Monday. They did, and the Owls took to the air.
Even with some early misses, Edmonds stayed the course, despite turning to the scorer’s table at one point to check how many threes they had taken to that point — 14 — “Oh my goodness,” was her only reply.
“A lot of our threes were coming from three of our best three-point shooters,” she said afterward. “Those are what those players do, So I have no problems with them taking good shots.”
Edmonds did admit the quality of shot improved as the team entered the heart of the second quarter, moving the ball more effectively and playing inside out. That set up leading scorer Katelyn Crosthwait for a massive evening. She connected on 7-of-14 threes, scoring a team-high 23 points.
“Threes are my thing. That’s what I rep every single off day,” Crosthwait said win a grin.
Up Next: vs North Texas – Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
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