Furious Rice Rally Falls Just Short Against TCU
HOUSTON, Texas – Rice University men’s basketball clawed its way back from an 18-point deficit in the second half to pull within two and take a shot to win the game, but TCU prevailed in a 65-63 nail-biter at Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
Propelled once again by a strong outing from Tamir Jackson, Rice strung together a 15-2 run in less than five minutes to cut an 18-point gap to just five with 14 minutes to play in the second half.
The Owls (3-8) shot 63.2 percent from the field after the intermission and knocked down 15-of-18 free throws in the period to keep the Horned Frogs from pulling away as they did in the first half.
Late in the game, a pair of Austin Ramljak free throws followed by one from Jackson closed the gap to just two points, 58-56, with three minutes remaining in regulation. TCU would push its advantage back out to five points at 62-57, but Rice sank its next four free throws and continued to get defensive stops to put themselves in position to tie or win in the final moments.
After a TCU free throw with 13 seconds remaining made the score 65-63, the Owls battled the defense’s pressure to get up the court for one final possession. After a series of passes, Jackson was forced to attempt a contested three-pointer from the right wing as the clock wound down. The attempt missed the target as clock expired and the visitors escaped with the win.
Jackson came one point shy of his season best with 25 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 10-of-14 free throws. He led Rice with four of the team’s nine assists and hauled in three rebounds in 36 minutes.
Julian DeBose reached double figures with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He added four rebounds and sank both of his free throw attempts. Seth Gearhart added 11 points, four boards and two assists. The sophomore was 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 from downtown. Ramljak scored all four of his points at the stripe.
After the incredible second-half performance in which Rice outscored TCU by 12 points, the Owls finished the game with a 45.5 percent mark from the field and 77.3 percent clip from the foul line.
TCU shot 48.9 percent in the game and held a 38-17 rebounding advantage. The Horned Frogs converted 15 second-chance points off of 12 offensive boards, while the Owls only grabbed one of their own misses in the game. Rice’s 17 rebounds were a season low, adding to the impressive nature of the comeback.
Rice erased an early seven-point deficit to tie the game at 18-18 midway through the first half, but the Horned Frogs finished the period on a 16-2 run to take a 34-20 advantage into the locker room.
Houston-area native Garlon Green scored 18 of TCU’s 34 first-half points and finished with a career-high 31 on 10-of-16 shooting. Adrick McKinney added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Rice scored 16 points off of 16 TCU turnovers, while turning the ball over just nine times on the night.
The Owls take a week to celebrate the holidays before closing out the calendar year at Texas on Dec. 29. The 1 p.m. contest will be televised nationally on the Longhorn Network.