Houston Baptist (0-2) at Rice (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 15th, 4:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,208) -- Houston, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Houston Baptist 0-0, Rice 0-2. Away Record: Houston Baptist 0-0, Rice 0-0. Neutral Record: Houston Baptist 0-2, Rice 0-0. Conference Record: Houston Baptist 0-0, Rice 0-0. Series Record: Rice leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The three-day event that is the Rice Basketball Challenge comes to a close this afternoon as the Rice Owls confront the Houston Baptist Huskies at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice kicked off the new season by putting up wins against both Sacrament State on Friday, 81-51, and slipping by South Alabama on Saturday, 71-69. The Owls will be right back here at Tudor Fieldhouse against both Furman and Texas next week, but until then the team hits the road for the first time on Thursday night with a visit to Arizona in Tucson.
Meanwhile the Huskies, under the direction of head coach Ron Cottrell, were bounced in their first two games of the season with double-digit setbacks to the Hornets and the Jaguars the last couple of days. Yesterday, HBU was turned away by Sacramento State in a 70-60 final.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools, the Owls have won all four previous meetings.
The Huskies trailed by just three points at the break yesterday versus Sacramento State, but then the team missed all seven opportunities behind the three-point line and was 5-of-9 at the charity stripe in the second half. Michael Moss led the way for the Huskies with his 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Mario Flaherty and Wendell Preadom both dropped in 11 points and accounted for six rebounds apiece. Shooting a mere 1-of-15 out on the perimeter and turning the ball over 18 times were key factors in the team losing by 10 points. While it has only been two games, Houston Baptist has already found out that it is going to have a hard time shooting the ball from the field this season. Not only has the team made good on only 36.4 percent from the floor overall, the Huskies have managed to converted a dismal 2-of-30 behind the three-point line. Granted, opponents have made just 4-of-21 out on the perimeter, but with USA and Sacramento averaging 40 rebounds per game against HBU the missed shots are not always so critical for the opposition.
Rice led for almost the entire second half on Saturday, going up by as many as 13 points in the first four minutes of the period before having to hold on for the two-point win versus South Alabama. Except for Suleiman Braimoh who tallied just four points in 19 minutes of work, every starter his for double figures for the Owls, beginning with Tamir Jackson who dropped in a game-high 18 points. Converting all five of his three-point tries, Connor Frizzelle checked in with 17 points, followed by Lawrence Ghoram and Lucas Kuipers with 14 and 11 points, respectively, for a team that actually shot better from behind the three-point line (.529) than it did the floor overall (.431). Frizzelle, who is averaging 17.5 ppg for the first two contests, has been a machine out on the perimeter, having made an incredible 9-of-10 tries beyond the arc. While it is still very early in the season, the Owls can still be positive about making 20-of-40 from long range, even after the squad made good on 38.2 percent a season ago. Frizzelle, who averaged 8.7 ppg in 2008-09, made a total of just 38 three-point baskets, so he is already well on his way to eclipsing that number.
Of course Frizzelle and the Owls are going to run into some tougher perimeter defenses as the season wears on, but for now Rice should just enjoy the success.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rice 84, Houston Baptist 59
11/15 10:32:33 ET
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