GAME NOTES: Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes, and Hakeem Olajuwon will all receive Top 75 All-time March Madness Players Awards at halftime at the Hofheinz Pavilion in the midst of the Houston Cougars hosting the Rice Owls for a Conference-USA clash on Wednesday.
Rice most recently suffered a loss to Texas-El Paso, 67-56. The loss extended the Owls' slump to eight games as they have not won in over a month. The last Rice victory came over the Cougars on January 30th.
Houston is coming off a high-scoring 103-76 win over Marshall which ended a 3- game slump for the Cougars. This is the second of a two-game homestand for Houston before heading to Tulane to close out regular season action.
The Cougars hold a dominant, 58-18 lead in the all-time series between the squads but it's Rice that has won four of the last five meetings, including a 79-69 win in late January of this season.
In the Owls' loss to UTEP, Tamir Jackson supplied 20 points for Rice while Julian DeBose had 14 points and Max Guercy had 11. The Owls shot just 36.5 percent from the field and were outrebounded 42-26.
Rice has three players that have started all 28 games this season and all three average in double-figure scoring. Jackson leads the team with 16.6 ppg and a team-high 5.8 rpg but shoots just 37.9 percent form the field. Guercy and DeBose each shoot above 43.0 percent from the floor, while Guercy contributes 10.2 ppg and DeBose manages 10.0 ppg. The Owls are one of the worst scoring offenses in the nation, scoring less than 60.0 ppg and shooting below 40.0 percent from the field.
TaShawn Thomas recorded a monster double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds as he led the Cougars over Marshall. He was one of three players to score over 20 points as Danuel House and Joseph Young recorded 23 points each. Houston shot nearly 60.0 percent from the floor in the game and House went 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
Young, Thomas, and House all average in double-figure scoring this season while Young leads the team with 18.0 ppg and shoots nearly 44.0 percent from 3-point range. Thomas adds 17.0 ppg with 9.8 rpg and shoots 53.7 percent from the floor while House manages 12.9 ppg. Houston is an offensive powerhouse, scoring nearly 78.0 ppg and shooting 46.0 percent from the field.
Rice managed to steal one earlier this season over the Cougars but will not be able to do so this time at the Hofheinz Pavilion. The high-scoring offense of Houston will take over the game against a Rice team that has no chance of matching its intensity.
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