Rice basketball fell to 0-2 at the Ball Dawgs Classic, falling too far behind in the first half to New Mexico on another tough night from three.
It wasn’t quite a repeat performance of the night before, but it was another discouraging result for Rice Basketball which fell to 1-4 on the season following a Wednesday night loss to New Mexico at the Ball Dawgs Classic in Las Vegas, NV. A changeup in the starting lineup, swapping in Noah Shelby in place of Anthony Selden didn’t seem to produce any material results.
Rice scored the first points, courtesy of a layup from Max Fiedler, but then watched their opponent go on a 16-3 run. New Mexico had their first double-digit lead before the second media timeout. Travie Evee kept the Owls afloat, leading all scorers with 11 first-half points.
After connecting on just 3-of-12 triples in the first half, Rice found some life early on in the second frame when their long balls began to fall. Rice made their first three three-pointers after intermission, cutting a deficit that had ballooned to 15 down to eight. The defense stepped up at that point too, contributing to nine consecutive missed shots for New Mexico.
As has been the case over the past four games, though, the bright spots were limited to brief moments and not stretched over the course of a 40-minute game. A 13-3 run midway through the second half put this game out of reach for good. Rice would go on to lose by a final score of 90-56.
Final Box | New Mexico 90 – Rice 56
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) November 23, 2023
Key takeaway | Can’t buy a bucket
Rice basketball likes to play fast and shoot the ball. When the shots go in, that’s all well and good. When they don’t, things can get out of hand quickly. And while the Owls possess the firepower to hurtle back and overcome deficits other teams might not, it’s certainly not a tactic they’d like to rely upon.
A season ago, Rice shot 44.9 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from three. Those are averages, mind you, not highs and lows. Excluding their opener against Saint Thomas, Rice has yet to eclipse that shooting percentage from the field, managing just 34.0 percent from the floor against New Mexico. A dismal 25 percent shooting performance from three only made the troubles worse.
They’ve got one more game in Vegas to fight through. Then it’s back home against a couple of more manageable opponents and a much-needed, albeit brief reprieve from this rigorous non-conference schedule.
Up Next: Ball Dawg’s Classic – Henderson, NV (UC Irvine – Nov. 24)
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