Rice senior Cliff Ghoram scored a career-high 26 points the last time the Owls took on TCU. Tip-off for Saturday's game is set for 7 p.m.

Men's Basketball

Owls Start New Year in Fort Worth Saturday

Jan. 1, 2010

Rice Game Notes l TCU Game Notes

With a victory Saturday night, Rice would head into Conference USA play with a winning record for the first time since the program joined the league. But to get to 7-6 on the year, the Owls will have to win on the road for the first time this season as the squad travels to TCU.

Tip-off for Saturday's game is set for 7 p.m. in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and can be heard in Houston on ESPN 97.5 as well as world wide via RiceOwls.com.

Earlier this week Rice played one of its best defensive halves of the season, posting a 75-62 win over McNeese State. The Owls held McNeese to 17.9 percent shooting in the second period (5-for-28 from the field) and outrebounded the Cowboys by a 24-17 margin.

TCU, 6-7, is coming off a 64-53 homecourt loss to Northern Colorado which at 12-3 is ranked in the nation's Mid- Major poll.

Sophomore guard Ronnie Moss averages 15.7 points and 6.6 assists to lead TCU. In this week's loss to Northern Colorado, Moss was held to 10 points and did not have an assist.

Behind Moss, the Horned Frogs' second and third-leading scorers are seniors Zonko Buljan and Edvinas Ruzgas.

Buljan averages 14.8 points per game and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds. Ruzgas averages 14.2 points and has made 31 three-pointers through 13 games.

As a team, TCU has made 106-of-316 three-point attempts (.335) and is averaging 8.2 treys per game.

Rice freshman forward Arsalan Kazemi has started the Owls' last two games and has scored in double figures in each of the last five contests. He is coming off a career-high 16-point game and had 10 rebounds in the win over McNeese as he recorded his third double-double. For the year, Kazemi is averaging 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds. He leads the team with nine blocked shots.

Freshman guard Tamir Jackson scored a team-high 18 points, had five rebounds and equaled a career mark with five assists in the McNeese win.

Jackson has scored in double figures the last three games and for the year is averaging 11.4 points. He also has 33 assists and 12 steals while starting all 12 games.

Rice and TCU have long been rivals first as members of the Southwest Conference and later, the Western Athletic Conference. The Owls hold a slight 89-84 edge in the series but the two teams have played one another just twice since both schools were members of the WAC.

The two teams each won at home during the 2007-08 season.

The last game in the series was played at the Merrell Center in Katy while Rice University's Tudor Fieldhouse underwent a $27 million renovation.

Rice guard Lawrence Ghoram, who is a senior this season, scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Owls came back from a 17-point, first-half deficit to post a 70-65 win.

Ghoram, who has started every Conference USA game over the past two years of his career as well as every game this season, is currently averaging 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Following Saturday's game in Fort Worth, Rice returns home to open league play on Wednesday against cross-town rival Houston. Tip-off for that game is 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live by CSS.

The last time Rice had a winning record heading into conference play came during the 2003-04 season when the Owls began the year 8-3 en route to a 22-11 record.

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