Rice basketball turned a close game into a runaway affair, blanking Old Dominion down the stretch and ending the game on a flawless 16-0 run.
Rice basketball went through a tough stretch in early January when the shots just weren’t falling. The Owls’ typical precision from three had turned sporadic as the team had to find ways to win in the paint and with their defense. Those days seem like a distant memory now that Rice has turned in consecutive days with laser-sharp accuracy from beyond three-point arc.
It’s only fitting that Rice opened their Thursday tilt with Old Dominion with consecutive threes. They would go on to hit seven of their first 14 shots from long-range. Rice had hit 50 percent or better on their triples in three games this to that point, still, Old Dominion found a way to hang around.
Last Time Out: Rice Basketball outshoots Marshall on the road\
Where the Monarchs came up short from distance they made up for inside. Their cuts to the basket and 20 points in the paint in the first half alone contributed to a close game that pinballed back and forth early on.
Old Dominion would take charge as the game progressed into the second half. The Monarchs were on fire from the field — until they weren’t. An eight-point ODU lead with 6:40 to play disappeared following a 1-for-10 stretch from the field. Rice mounted a 10-0 run with Carl Pierre delivering the go-ahead three with 2:51 on the clock. That run would extend to 16-0 as Rice ran away with it at home. Mylyjael Poteat was dominant down the stretch. Pierre couldn’t miss. Rice rolled.
“I guess we got to go look at the record books and see the last time we that kind of run to end the game,” head coach Scott Pera said following the win.
What they’re saying | Scott Pera
“This is the team I thought we had on November 14. And then some things went wrong. Chris tore a tendon… Quincy hurt his wrist and wasn’t right for 12 games maybe… and then we had 15 out of 16 guys get COVID including me. So we had a lot of bumps and through the bumps we stayed together. We got some wins. We had some good games, beat some good teams, lost to some good teams.
When league started – after we got through the North Texas situation and the COVID stuff – our guys were healthy, except for Chris, and they were through COVID. It’s the team I’d thought we’d have.” – Scott Pera
Player Spotlight | Carl Pierre
Pierre continues to campaign for the best transfer addition in Pera’s tenure at Rice. He tied the school record with eight three-pointers last week against Marshall. He followed that up with seven triples against Old Dominion, propelling the Rice offense and keeping pace with the surging Monarchs. He’s become a key cog in the Owls’ game plan each and every night. If other teams don’t make it a priority to keep him away from the basketball, this is probably going to keep happening.
Stat Corner | It’s how you finish
Defense was the focal point of the conversation in the Owls’ season-opening win over Pepperdine. Expectations for that side of the ball had risen compared to recent seasons, but few could have imagined the dazzling display Rice put forth to slam the door against Old Dominion on Thursday night.
“You can’t do better. I may coach another 500 games and it may never happen again,” Pera said of the team’s emphatic finish.
Rice held Old Dominion scoreless in the final 6:40 of regulation. The Monarchs missed their final 11 shots. Whether it was sheer exhaustion, careful spacing or a combination of both, Rice absolutely stymied what had been a dynamic offensive attack up until that moment.
Final Box | Rice 77 – ODU 69
FINAL | @RiceMBB 77 – ODU 69
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 21, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice basketball closes out their two-game homestand on Saturday against Charlotte. After that they hit the road once again, paying a visit to Louisiana Tech and then Southern Miss to close out the month of January.