Rice basketball dropped its final contest of 2023 to Louisiana and will enter AAC play 6-7 overall in the New Year.
Finally back to .500 at 6-6 following a tough start to the season, Rice basketball was hoping to finish off their final game before a lengthy holiday break with a win. Those dreams died rather quickly on Friday night, however, as Louisiana marched into Tudor Fieldhouse and dropped 10 first-half three-pointers on the Owls, knocking down seven of their first nine from distance.
Rice got off to a much slower start, making just 29.6 percent of their shots from the field in the first half. They attempted just nine threes as their normal leading scorer, Travis Evee, was held to just three points before halftime.
Trailing by 14 points at the break, Rice was able to trim the lead on a few separate occasions. The Owls had run of five consecutive baskets and two free throws early in the second half to get within six. They fell behind once more only for Evee and Alem Huseinovic to rain down several threes and get back within single digits. But that was always roughly the margin and never much closer.
Back within eight in the final three minutes, Louisiana would go on a 9-0 run to close it out sending Rice into their Christmas break 6-7.
Final Box | Louisiana 84 – Rice 67
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) December 23, 2023
Key takeaway | Time for a reset
It’s been an unforgiving schedule for Rice basketball to start the season. They wanted to be tested and give themselves an opportunity to pick up a marquee win or two. Not only did they not achieve the latter, but they’ll enter their conference slate below .500 on the season.
There’s a lot to unpack and there will be a midseason state of the program coming for our subscribers during the Owls’ long break from the court. The most important thing for this team right now is to exhale, take a deep breath and reset.
Conference play is coming. It’s going to be significantly tougher than it was a season ago in Conference USA. This iteration of Rice basketball has flashed moments of being up to the challenge, but it’s clear they need a break and some time for the coaching staff to make a few additional tweaks. How the season goes from here hangs in the balance.
Up Next: at Tulane – Jan. 3 (Wed.)
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