Harvard (12-1) at Rice (5-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) -- Houston, Texas. Television: CBS
Sports Network. Home Record: Harvard 5-0, Rice 3-2. Away Record: Harvard 3-1,
Rice 2-3. Neutral Record: Harvard 4-0, Rice 0-2. Conference Record: Harvard
0-0, Rice 0-0. Series Record: Harvard leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Harvard Crimson will look to capture their ninth win in a row
as it visits Tudor Fieldhouse for a non-conference tilt against the Rice Owls.
The Crimson enter with a 12-1 record after their 73-58 victory over Boston
College on New Year's Day. Harvard's only loss this season came on Nov. 24 at
Colorado and it has won three true road tests at Northeastern, Boston and
Fordham since the setback. Another win would give the program its best record
and longest winning streak under seventh-year head coach Tommy Amaker. The
Crimson are leading all Ivy League teams in scoring offense at 76.3 ppg and
are holding their opposition to a mere 62.2 ppg to tie for first in the
conference in scoring defense.
Rice fell to the 5-7 mark when it was defeated, 60-44, at Texas on Dec. 30.
The setback was the second straight for the Owls, who lost to Princeton of the
Ivy League at home by 14 points in late November. Coach Ben Braun's squad won
just four non-conference games and five games in total in the 2012-13 season.
It has clearly made a big step in the right direction as it is averaging only
1.7 points less per game than its foes.
This will be just the fourth meeting between Harvard and Rice on the hardwood.
The Crimson own a 2-1 all-time series lead after their 92-62 rout of the Owls
Wesley Saunders had a stellar outing against Boston College with 21 points,
six rebounds and four steals to carry Harvard to the victory. Kyle Casey
tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Crimson, while Jonah
Travis also scored 11. Although Saunders is the clear leader due to his team-
high 15.5 ppg, the Crimson's success this season has come due to a collective
effort. The team's bench outscored BC's reserves, 24-5, in its last outing.
Harvard also shot an impressive 23-of-28 from the free-throw line. Siyani
Chambers is contributing 11.8 ppg to go along with 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals
per outing. Casey is also adding 11.8 ppg.
Sean Obi was the lone bright spot for Rice in its 22-point loss to the
Longhorns. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward registered a double-double with 10
points and 12 rebounds in 23 minutes of action, but none of his teammates
managed to join him in double figures in either category. The Owls shot just
29.1 percent from the field including a 6-of-29 clip from behind the 3-point
line in the game. They played much better after the intermission and will try
to carry the momentum of the strong finish into this even tougher matchup. Obi
is fourth among Conference USA players in rebounding with 9.4 per game. His
scoring average of 11.9 ppg is second on the team to Austin Ramljak's 12.8
ppg. Ramljak and Max Guercy combined to go 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the
recent loss in Austin.
The Owls' shooting from 3-point range will need to improve if they are going
to continue to hoist up more than 50 percent of their attempts from beyond the
arc. Rice's tendency to settle for outside shots will put a lot of pressure on
it right away, as too many consecutive misses in the first half could enable
Harvard to put the game out of reach before the intermission.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 81, Rice 60
01/04 10:39:28 ET
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