Rice basketball hangs around but can’t do more than that, falling to league-leading FAU on the road, their fourth straight defeat.
Another slow start accompanied Rice basketball to the Sunshine State on Thursday night. Rice fell behind against FAU 16-8, opening the game shooting a miserable 23 percent from the floor. They would eventually get the shots to start falling, but not before FAU ripped off a 15-3 run to push their advantage to 13 points midway through the first half.
Down by double-digits against the best team in the conference, Rice began its comeback. Quincy Olivari delivered back-to-back threes to get things going. Mekhi Mason closed the half with his first triple of the contest, shrinking the FAU lead to six.
Rice would get within five a few times in the second half but never got closer. The FAU lead would ping-pong back and forth between five and 10, but Rice couldn’t hit that next shot and make it a one-possession game. Far too often those missed threes turned into fast break points for the other side before Rice, eventually, ran out of time.
Final Box | FAU 91 – Rice 80
FINAL | FAU 90 – @RiceMBB 81 pic.twitter.com/w0SxTm0Rxg
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) February 10, 2023
Key takeaway | Making the grade
After a tough stretch that featured three consecutive losses, Rice basketball head coach Scott Pera made it clear his team needed to play what he termed their “A-game” if they were going to win games in a challenging conference. It was going to take that good of a game and then some if the Owls were going to walk into Boca Raton and upset the conference frontrunners.
Rice did not pull off the upset, but they carried themselves much more like a team that belonged on the same court as the other Owls than they had in the past few games. Pera’s squad heard the message. While it might not have been an A-game, it was at least a B-minus.
There are no more victories. Rice basketball is running out of time. But if they’re going to win a few more down the stretch, playing at this level (41 percent from three, 85 percent from the line) is a prerequisite. Limiting the offensive boards and playing stronger in the paint will go a long way toward that achieving those ends.
Up Next: at FIU – Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m.
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