Rice basketball preview: Rice vs. Houston
CUSA Fans Rice Sports Correspondent Bob Schlanger previews the basketball game between Rice and Houston.
January 17, 2007
LAST TIME OUT :
The on-again and off-again Rice Owls were on again as they handled East Carolina on Saturday and returned home with a 64-47 victory. Morris Almond once again led the Owls in scoring but was held below his average as he scored 18 points along with his 10 rebounds. The Owls finally found some scoring balance as Lorenzo Williams tallied 17 points and Patrick Britton added ten.
Rice broke a 10-10 tie early in the game to take a 16-point lead at halftime (34-18). Rice quickly extended the lead to 39-18. After a mini-run by ECU to cut the lead to 14, Rice played well and extended the lead to as many as 25 while cruising to its second C- USA victory. The highlight of the game was perhaps the fact that Rice had a season low seven turnovers and was able to protect the ball and the lead.
NEXT UP :
The Owls return to Autry Court on Wednesday to host their cross-town rival, the UH Cougars. Rice enters the game with an 8-7 record but has won its two C- USA games. UH is 6-8 and has split its two opening C-USA games. The opportunity for Rice to extend its C-USA record to 3-0 greatly adds to the importance of the game which has always been a critical match-up of schools that are only three miles apart. After UH totally dominated Rice early in the series between the schools, Rice has won six of the last 10 games between the teams and UH has not defeated Rice at Autry Court since January 13, 1996 in the teams final meeting in the Southwest Conference.
Once again, the key for Rice will be whether Morris Almond receives enough offensive support to allow the Owls to run their offense. If there is a lack of scoring from Lorenzo Williams, Patrick Britton and Greg Killings, the Owls may be in for a long night as the Cougars will be able to focus their defensive attention on Almond, the leading scorer in C-USA. In both conference games, Williams has stepped up offensively as he recovers from foot surgery that slowed him early in the season. Williams will probably be energized by remembering his coast-to-coast layup in the final seconds to defeat UH in 2005 at Autry Court.
The key for the Cougars will be whether their perimeter players are shooting well as they did in the UH victory over SMU on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. If the Cougars shoot the ball and convert more than 35% of the numerous three-pointers that are anticipated, the game will be an exciting contest. If UH misfires from long distance, the Owls should progress to 3-0 in the conference.