With the new year officially here, with it comes conference play for the NCAA basketball season, and for the UTSA Roadrunners (4-4, 0-1), they opened their Conference USA schedule on the road against the Rice Owls (7-2, 1-0) on Friday. In a game of runs, the home-team Owls were the last to get hot and picked up a victory, 95-86.
It was a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams trade periods of scoring, and with just under two minutes left was a one-point game, with Rice leading 87-86. The Owls scored the last eight points of the game, and 13 of the last 15 points by either team to start 1-0 in Conference USA.
FINAL | Rice used a 9-0 run midway through the second half to erase a UTSA lead and post a league-opening win on Friday afternoon. NEXT: UTSA wraps up a two-game swing at Rice on Saturday at 2 pm at Tudor Fieldhouse on ESPN+.#BirdsUp 🤙 | #RunWithUs pic.twitter.com/0u94To2lTt
— UTSA Basketball (@UTSAMBB) January 1, 2021
Both teams shot really well, but Rice had the hotter hand, connecting on 56% of their shot attempts, versus 49% FG from UTSA. The three-point shot was a huge factor in this one, with each team attempting 33 shots from deep. The marksmen leading their respective teams were Rice’s Travis Evee and UTSA’s Keaton Wallace. The first half was all Wallace, where he made five three-pointers, and led all players with 17 points, but Evee would take over in the second half to give his team the win.
Travis Evee had 36 points on 68% shooting (13-19) from the floor, and scored 24 points on three-point shots alone (8-13). Evee has averaged just over 12 points per game through eight contests this season, and tops his previous high of 20 points in a game, set in November against OLLU. A sophomore, Evee transferred to Rice in the Spring from VMI (Virginia Military Institute).
— Rice Basketball (@RiceBasketball) January 1, 2021
For the Roadrunners, Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson couldn’t get it going at the same time, but each had solid performances in the first and second halves respectively. Jackson had just two points in the first period, compared to Wallace’s 17 points, but Jhivvan’s 17 point second half offset Keaton’s four points in the final frame.
Four of the five starters from both teams scored in double-digits, with Rice’s Max Fieldler being the lone player to record a double-double (12 pt, 11 reb). Both benches were pretty quiet, but UTSA’s stood out with 15 of the team’s 35 rebounds.
Rice and UTSA will run it back tomorrow afternoon at 2pm from the Tudor Fieldhouse on the campus of Rice University. Like today, the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.