Rice basketball officially said goodbye to a first round bye on Thursday with a blowout loss to Florida Atlantic on their home court.
It wasn’t so much a slow start that doomed Rice basketball against Florida Atlantic on Thursday night — although they did fall behind 9-0 to start — it was the unrelenting onslaught from Conference USA’s preeminent team. Florida Atlantic had runs of 8-0, 13-0 and 10-0 in the first half alone, concluding with an emphatic 10 points run to complete the half.
Rice scored the first second points of the second half, but it fell on hollow ears following the 29-point deficit they faced at the break. A hole that size would have been hard enough to overcome against a mediocre opponent. Florida Atlantic proved they were far from that, responding to the most Rice rally and further lengthening their lead to as much as 36 points. Rice never came close.
Final Box | Florida Atlantic 103 – Rice 74
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) March 3, 2023
Key takeaway | Shooting spree
Rice basketball is now officially dead last in Conference USA in opposing field goal percentage allowed. They are 10th (out of 11 teams) in points per game allowed. The defense that seemed to be slowly building through nonconference play has been nowhere to be seen for the Owls over the past several weeks.
It doesn’t matter who Rice plays, allowing 100 points should never be acceptable. They held Texas, a Top 10 team, to 87 points including overtime. Florida Atlantic dropped 103 points on Rice on Thursday, and it could have been worse.
It’s not a new refrain, but it is an ever-growing chorus: if Rice basketball can’t play any semblance of defense, it won’t matter how many threes they can make. Florida Atlantic shot 53.4 percent from the floor and 47.2 percent from three. Sometimes teams get hot. When it keeps happening time and time again, it’s a trend. And Rice is running out of time to find solutions.
Up Next: vs FIU – Saturday, Mar. 4 at 2:00 p.m.
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