GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls travel to Birmingham to face off against the Blazers of UAB in a Conference USA clash at Bartow Arena on Saturday night.
The Owls most recently suffered a heartbreaking 71-70 loss at Marshall. The loss was the fourth in a row for Rice which has won just two of the last 13 games. This is the second of a two-game road swing before heading back to the Tudor Fieldhouse to face Tulane.
UAB is coming off a 74-61 loss at East Carolina. The loss ended a brief two- game win streak for the Blazers who have won three of their last five after a six-game slump. This is a short stay at home before hitting the road for a pair at Marshall and Tulane.
The Blazers are a perfect 8-0 against the Owls and took the last matchup 61-60 in overtime last season. They are the only C-USA team that is unbeaten against Rice.
Despite a late 3-pointer by Julian DeBose, the Owls' late attempt fell short against Marshall. Tamir Jackson was one of five Rice players to score in double figures in the loss, as he tallied 16 points with five rebounds and five assists. Austin Ramljak hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points with seven rebounds, while Max Guercy had 12 points. DeBose and Keith Washington managed 10 points each, while Washington dished out five assists. Jackson is the Owls' top player, posting 16.0 ppg with 6.0 rpg but shoots just 37.7 percent from the field. DeBose is the only other Rice player averaging double- figure scoring with 10.0 ppg. As a unit the squad scores just 60.1 ppg, but lets opposing teams score 69.3 ppg.
In the loss to the Pirates, the UAB defense allowed ECU to shoot over 52.1 percent from the field, while Maurice Kemp dominated the game, going 7-of-10 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line for 23 points. For the Blazers, Rod Rucker scored 14 points with nine rebounds, while Fahro Alihodzic added 11 points. The squad went just 2-of-16 from 3-point range. Rucker leads the team in both scoring and rebounding this season, posting 14.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg, while shooting just under 50.0 percent from the floor. While the team scores a solid 72.6 ppg, the Blazers allow opponents to shoot over 45.0 percent from the field and net 72.5 ppg (301st nationally).
With both teams playing poor on the defensive end, the squad with the better offense will be sure to take the game. The Owls do not have the same ability as UAB to put points up on the board and in 11 games away from home, the Owls are winless. The Owls won't find their first road win against the Blazers.
Game Date and Time