Rice basketball posted a second consecutive win, taking care of business on the road against Northwestern State.
Northwestern State scored the first five points on Saturday, holding Rice basketball scoreless for more than three minutes until Travis Evee got the visiting Owls on the board with a jumper, adding another point on an and-one opportunity as Rice began to vault themselves back into the game.
Rice tied the game at nine shortly afterward, then took a 15-13 lead on a three-pointer by Mekhi Mason. The shots would start falling from that point onward. Rice grew their lead to double digits in the first half with Mason delivering the final points of the frame to ensure Rice was in front by 10 at the break.
The second half was all Owls, which began with a 12-2 Rice run, stretching a sizable lead into a blowout. The game was never in doubt from that point onward a Rice utilized solid defense and just enough shooting success to post a third-consecutive victory.
Final Box | Rice 76 – Northwestern State 51
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) December 16, 2023
What they’re saying
“We’re really carrying things over right now from the game plan and in practice, on to the court defensively. This team has really taken a good turn defensively. They’re taking pride in it. They’re not wasting possessions. I was really proud of our overall effort and production defensively. Offensively, in the second half, we made layups that we missed in the first half. That was the difference. Any road win is a good win and I’m proud of the team.” – Rice basketball head coach Scott Pera
Key takeaway | Building blocks
Rice basketball has now held consecutive opponents to below 40 percent shooting from the field. The Owls only managed to do that once last season and Northwestern State was included in a three-game stretch of defensive prowess.
Last season serves as a subtle reminder that a good two-game run of defense does not necessarily mean that has become the norm within the program, but it’s a step that shows strong defense is in there somewhere.
On Saturday, Rice dominated the boards, outrebounding Northwestern State 45-29 and limiting shooting opportunities. When those chances did come up, Rice closed quickly and was generally able to impact shots. Northwestern State went 2-of-20 from three.
Up Next: vs Prairie View A&M – Dec. 20 (Wed.)
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