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Tulsa (15-14) at Rice (5-24)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,760) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Tulsa 9-5, Rice 5-10. Away Record: Tulsa 4-7, Rice 0-11. Neutral Record: Tulsa 2-2, Rice 0-3. Conference Record: Tulsa 7-8, Rice 1-14. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 26-6.
GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will try to continue their dominance over the Rice Owls tonight when the two close out the Conference USA regular season against one another at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston on Saturday night.
Tulsa has won 13 straight meetings and leads the all-time series with Rice, 26-6. The Owls have not won a head-to-head matchup since 2005.
The Golden Hurricane fell into a tie for the fifth seed for the upcoming C-USA Tournament with Wednesday's 71-65 setback to SMU. After a solid start in league play, they have faded a bit down the stretch with losses in three of their last four outings. Tulsa needs a win and a UAB loss on Saturday to lock up the final bye in next week's conference tourney.
Rice is firmly entrenched at the bottom of the C-USA standings with a dismal 1-14 league mark. The Owls have lost each of their last nine contests entering tonight's final regular-season game, and that includes 84-62 setback at Houston. However, it is worth noting that all five of their wins this season have come inside Tudor Fieldhouse.
Tulsa knocked down 9-of-26 3-point tries against SMU, while the Mustangs were 0-of-2. However, SMU dominated the interior play to the tune of a 40-18 scoring advantage in the paint. The Mustangs shot 51.8 percent from the floor, compared to Tulsa's 37.9 percent effort. James Woodard had 17 points and Scottie Haralson scored 13 in the loss. Woodard paces the squad with 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season. However, in 14 conference games he is shooting just 37 percent from the floor and is averaging only 9.7 points. Pat Swilling, Jr. is averaging 10.6 ppg for the seasons and a team- best 11.0 ppg in league play. He ranks second in the conference with 2.5 3- pointers per game. Haralson rounds out the team's double-digit scorers with 10.2 ppg.
Rice's Tamir Jackson came within one point of matching his season-high with 25 points at Houston on Wednesday. It was Jackson's fifth straight game with at least 19 points as he helped the Owls trim a 19-point deficit down to nine in the second half. However, the Cougars were just too strong down the stretch as they pulled away late. Austin Ramljak joined Jackson in double figures with 14 points, as he buried four 3-pointers to take over eighth place on Rice's single-season 3-pointer list, with 64. Julian DeBose added 11 points in the loss. On the season, Jackson leads the team with 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. DeBose and Max Guercy are both averaging 10.0 ppg, and each member of that trio has been in the starting lineup together for every game this season.
Tulsa has absolutely owned Rice over the last seven-plus years. Although the Golden Hurricane are not playing their best basketball leading into this final game, they certainly have enough firepower to take down the lowly Owls once more.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 69, Rice 61
03/09 10:39:58 ET