GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls search for their first true road win as they visit the Cam Henderson Center for a Conference USA tilt against the Marshall Thundering Herd.
This will be the ninth meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Marshall owns a 6-2 all-time series lead after winning the last three encounters.
Rice is coming off of a 61-39 loss to SMU in a contest it shot a season-low 19.6 percent from the field and sank just 6-of-26 from beyond the arc. The setback dropped Ben Braun's squad to a 5-18 mark overall and a 1-8 C-USA standing. Julian DeBose led the team with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting in the loss, while Tamir Jackson notched his 1,500th career point.
The Owls come in on a three-game game slide and without a win in seven true road games. Jackson is pacing the team with 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while DeBose and Max Guercy chip in 10.0 and 9.6 points per contest, respectively. In the loss to SMU, Jackson contributed 11 points but shot just 2-of-16 from the field and 1-of-8 from 3-point range. Rice's struggles on the offensive end all season long are made apparent by its conference low 59.7 points per game average. It is also only eighth in scoring defense with 69.2 points allowed per tilt. Rice averages just 25.7 rebounds per game, the lowest average in the conference.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd are in the midst of an unfortunate slump. Marshall lost for the fifth time in six games on Saturday when it dropped a 75-61 decision at UAB. The defeat lowered the Herd four games below the .500 mark on the season and to a 3-6 C-USA standing. MU is also winless on the road in nine tries, but is much better with a 9-3 record at home. They are actually 9-2 at the Cam Henderson Center, as their loss to Cincinnati in Charleston counts against the official home tally. Elijah Pittman is pacing Marshall in scoring with 15.1 ppg, while DeAndre Kane posts 14.8 points and a conference leading 7.2 assists per tilt. Kane has been racking up impressive numbers to climb the school-record lists at Marshall and is currently just eight points away from tying Hall of Famer Hal Greer for 19th on Marshall's all-time scoring list.
In the Herd's loss to the Blazers, Kane finished with a game-high 23 points, followed by Pittman with 15 points as the team suffered a second straight setback. Nigel Spikes accounted for 10 rebounds, six points and four blocked shots. Marshall lost the rebounding edge 37-29, the fourth-straight game it got outrebounded. The Herd also had 17 turnovers, but forced the Blazers into 20. Rebounding is usually a strength for Marshall, as Dennis Tinnon (9.1) and Spikes (7.6) average 16.7 rebounds combined per game as starting post players.
Rice may just be what the doctor ordered for the Thundering Herd, who are playing well below expectations this season. Marshall's only hope for a postseason berth will be a big run in the C-USA Tournament, and it will need to generate some momentum with the little time it has left to do so.
Game Date and Time