A furious last-minute rally fell just short as Rice basketball dropped a crucial home tilt to Tulsa, 85-83.
Leads were fleeting for Rice basketball on Saturday night against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane scored twice to open the game with a 5-0 lead before a 7-0 Rice run put the Owls in front. That would prove to be the only lead for the home team through the remainder of the contest, which would ebb and flow and remain competitive up until the final buzzer.
No sooner had Rice claimed their meager lead did Tulsa rattle off an 11-0 run. Alem Huseinovic would fire back with a pair of threes and then shortly after an 8-0 Tulsa run put Rice down 12 points on their home court.
Rice was able to engineer a few spurts of success to cut their deficit. Max Fiedler orchestrated a good portion of those pushes, finishing three assists shy of a triple-double (14 points, 10 boards, 7 assists). Travis Evee scored all 15 of his points in the second half. Mekhi Mason led the way with 19 points.
Down by eight with 27 seconds, Rice nearly completed a miracle comeback, missing a tip shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime. With the loss, Rice falls to 1-6 in league play, allowing Tulsa to pick up its first road win in two years, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive road losses.
Final Box | Tulsa 85 – Rice 83
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 28, 2024
Key takeaway | Reenergizing Evee
Not far removed from a scoreless 0-for-12 outing against FAU on Wednesday, Evee spent most of the first half of this game riding the bench, sidelined by early foul trouble after missing his lone shot attempt before the halftime buzzer.
In total, he would go more than 43 minutes of time on the court without a made field goal, dating back to a layup against Temple. That streak was mercifully ended with a second half three, part of an eventual 15-point outburst that nearly included a game winning three, had it not been blocked.
Rice played FAU and Tulsa close with little contribution from their best scorer. Rice doesn’t get anywhere close to their furious comeback without Evee, who scored five of the Owls’ 13 points in the final minute. If Rice is going to have any shot of getting things going down the stretch, they need Evee at his best. Hopefully the second half a sign he’s heating up once again.
Up Next: at Memphis (Wednesday, Jan. 31)
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