Memphis (12-3) at Rice (3-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) -- Houston, Texas. Television:
CSS. Home Record: Memphis 9-1, Rice 3-5. Away Record: Memphis 2-0, Rice 0-4.
Neutral Record: Memphis 1-2, Rice 0-3. Conference Record: Memphis 2-0, Rice
0-2. Series Record: Memphis leads, 8-1.
GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls look to pull off a huge upset as they host the
Memphis Tigers at the Tudor Fieldhouse in Conference USA action on Wednesday.
Josh Pastner's Tigers are clearly at the head of the class in the C-USA once
again as they coasted to a 69-53 win over UAB on Saturday for their sixth
consecutive victory. Memphis enters 12-3 overall including a 2-0 mark in both
league and away games. All three losses have come to tough opponents in
Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, and Louisville. The team's success is not
hard to believe considering it returned four starters from last season's NCAA
Tournament team that swept the C-USA Championships.
The Owls will struggle stopping the Tigers' deep array of talent as they come
in with a mediocre scoring defense mark of 67.9 ppg. Coach Ben Braun's team is
just 3-12 overall due to its current five-game losing slide that was extended
with a 64-51 loss to Tulsa on Saturday. Rice is winless in its two C-USA
outings and just 3-5 at home. Senior guard Tamir Jackson has been the lone
bright spot as he leads the team with 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per
Rice has managed to knock off the Tigers just once in nine tries. Besides the
Owls' 67-52 decision over Memphis in the 2010-11 season, the Tigers have held
a clear advantage in the head-to-heads including their 73-51 victory in the
most recent encounter.
Memphis showed its explosiveness versus UAB by producing a 15-3 run in the
opening half to build a sizeable 14-point at the intermission. Adonis Thomas
tallied 19 points while Joe Jackson contributed 17 points and five assists.
Tarik Black also had a big-time performance as he notched his first double-
double of the season with 10 points and 13 boards. The Tigers shot 49 percent
from the field despite a 1-of-12 clip from 3-point range and they managed to
hold UAB to 18-of-57 shooting from the field (31.6 percent) including zero
makes on 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Jackson is spearheading the charge
with 14 points and 4.5 assists per outing while Thomas (11.0 ppg), Black (10.4
ppg, 5.5 rpg), and Geron Johnson (10.1 ppg, 1.8 spg) all play vital roles.
Freshman forward Shaq Goodwin also makes a big impact due to the tremendous
inside presence he provides.
Rice was neck and neck with the Golden Hurricane last time out, as Max Guercy
put in a layup with just under five minutes left to play to even the score at
51. However, the Owls committed four turnovers and went 0-of-4 from the field
the rest of the way to suffer a 13-point defeat. Jackson led the team with 14
points, five assists, and five rebounds while the other four starters went 9-
of-27 from the field. The only reserve to attempt more than one shot was Keith
Washington, but his 1-of-8 clip was not exactly helpful.
It appears that Jackson will have very little support the rest of the way.
While the senior guard is a decent player, he is not going to be able to
defeat Memphis on his own. The Tigers should coast past Rice to build up even
more momentum for their non-conference closer versus Harvard this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 81, Rice 60
01/16 10:47:03 ET
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