Rice's Tamir Jackson (above) and Texas' Myck Kabongo were high school teammates in New Jersey.

Men's Basketball

Owls Travel to Close Out First Half of Season

Dec. 30, 2011

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Rice will be looking for its 10th win of the season Saturday when the Owls travel to Austin to take on Texas. Rice has won its last two games and with nine victories has equaled its most regular-season nonconference wins since the 1998-99 season.

Tip-off for Saturday's game against the Longhorns is slated for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast by 1560 The Game (KGOW) as well as televised by The Longhorn Network.

A win against Texas on Saturday would mark the first time since the 1953-54 season that a Rice team had 10 victories before the start of a New Year. The 1953-54 Rice squad began the year 10-0 en route to a 23-5 record and an appearance in the NCAA West Regional. The Owls' 10th victory to start the 1953-54 season was a 60-58 win over Texas in the SWC Tournament played Dec. 30, 1953 in Houston.

Saturday's game in Austin will be the first for the Texas Longhorns since losing at No. 5 North Carolina, 82-63, back on Dec. 21st.

The Longhorns' 9-3 record includes an 8-0 mark at home.

Junior guard J'Covan Brown averages 19 points per game along with 4.3 assists an outing to lead the Longhorns. Brown has already been named the Big 12 Player of the Week twice this season.

Freshman guard Myck Kabongo is averaging 10 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Horns while freshman guard Sheldon McClellan comes off the bench to average 11.8 points an outing.

Kabongo was a teammate of Rice junior Tamir Jackson at St. Benedict's High School in New Jersey while Rice freshman Dylan Ennis played youth basketball against Kabongo from the second through seventh grades as both grew up in Ontario, Canada.

Jackson is averaging 13.7 points per game and leads the Owls with 47 assists. Ennis has started the last seven games and is averaging 8.0 points and has 40 assists. His 4.4 rebounding average ranks third on the squad.

Rice is led in scoring by Arsalan Kazemi who is averaging 13.9 points along with 12.5 rebounds an outing. Kazemi is coming off his 10th double-double of the season and has registered 37 double-doubles for his career. Kazemi's 36 assists during the year ranks third on the squad.

Following Saturday's game, Rice closes out the nonconference portion of its schedule next Wednesday at TCU. The Owls open league play against one of Conference USA's preseason favorites next Saturday when they play host to Marshall.

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