Jan. 16, 2012
IRIVING - Rice University junior forward Arsalan Kazemi and freshman forward Ahmad Ibrahim swept this week's Conference USA Player and Freshman of the Week honors, respectively. Awards are chosen by a vote from a media panel representing the 12 member schools.
Last week Rice won back-to-back road, conference games for the first time since 2005. The Owls defeated SMU 68-52 before posting a 50-49 win at Tulane over the weekend.
Kazemi averaged 16.5 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 67 percent from the field (12-of-18) and converting 9-of-12 free throws. During the week, Kazemi registered his 40th and 41st career double-doubles as he maintained his national lead in double-doubles with 14.
Kazemi needs just two more double-doubles to set the Conference USA career record. His 14-rebound performance at Tulane raised his season rebounding average to 12 boards per game, which ranks third in the country. He also ranks sixth nationally in field goal percentage (64.4 percent).
On Wednesday's win at SMU, Kazemi scored 21 points and gave Rice a 13-point lead with just over a minute to play when he converted a three-point play.
This is Kazemi's first C-USA Player of the Week honor this season and the third of his career.
Ibrahim made his first career starts in road wins at SMU and Tulane. He averaged eight points, four rebounds and three assists in back-to-back victories.
Ibrahim scored 14 points and had a career-high four assists while playing a career-high 35 minutes in the Owls' road win at SMU. He also made the inbounds pass leading to the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in the road win at Tulane.
This is Ibrahim's first C-USA Freshman of the Week honor.
Rice, 11-7 on the year and 2-1 in conference play, is back at home this week for two games. The Owls play host to UAB on Wednesday before entertaining Tulsa Saturday night.