Rice (4-13) at UCF (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: None.
Home Record: Rice 4-6, UCF 9-3. Away Record: Rice 0-4, UCF 3-2. Neutral
Record: Rice 0-3, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: Rice 0-3, UCF 2-1. Series
Record: UCF leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls are riding a little bit of momentum into their
Conference USA bout against the Knights at UCF Arena on Wednesday.
UCF owns an 8-5 all-time series lead versus Rice, including a 3-2 mark in
Ben Braun's Owls snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday with a 95-71
rout of New Orleans at home. The victory lifted Rice to a 4-13 overall record,
but it is still 0-3 in league action and winless after four true road tests.
The team's lack of winning stems from its inefficiency on the offensive end,
where it ranks last in the C-USA with just 59.2 ppg. The Owls are not much
better defensively are their allowed average of 68.2 ppg is the eighth best
mark in the 12-team league.
Senior guard Tamir Jackson continued to lead Rice over the weekend by going
11-of-16 from the floor for a game-high 24 points. Jackson, who paces the
squad with 16.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per outing, cracked the program's top
10 list for career points with his effort. Julian DeBose also had a productive
outing versus the Privateers, netting a career-high 20 points to lift his
season average to 9.9 ppg. The Owls will look to continue their accurate play
from beyond the arc after draining a season-best 12 3-pointers and hitting
61.3 percent of their field goals to close out their non-conference slate.
UCF also has something to build on after overcoming a double-digit deficit to
outlast Houston for a 79-75 overtime decision on Saturday. The win was the
third in four games for Donnie Jones and his Knights, who are 9-3 at home and
2-1 in the C-USA standings. Senior forward Keith Clanton leads the team and
Conference USA with 17.9 points per game. His 9.6 rebounding average is the
third best in the league. Sykes adds 14.9 points per game to the mix, but UCF
is not eligible for post-season action due to NCAA sanctions.
The Knights are in the middle of the road in the C-USA in both scoring offense
(71.8) and scoring defense (64.8). They have managed to knock off some notable
programs in South Florida, Belmont, and UAB this season despite having a
conference worst -3.12 turnover margin. Isaiah Sykes stood out over the
weekend as he tallied 22 points and nine rebounds and sank a pair of free
throws to force overtime. Clanton contributed 19 points and eight boards while
UCF hit 50 percent of its field-goal attempts.
The Owls' recent victory over UNO gave them some much needed confidence, but
they still will be overmatched in the majority of their conference tilts this
season. Rice has managed to rope in a few standout players in Morris Almond,
Arsalan Kazemi, and Jackson over the past decade, but none have been able to
make the program into a C-USA contender. The Knights should continue to
provide blemishes on their foes' league records while playing for nothing but
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 71, Rice 55
01/23 10:34:53 ET
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