Jan. 28, 2012
Tulane v Rice Game Book
HOUSTON - Freshman forward Ahmad Ibrahim scored a career-high 23 points while rookie teammate Dylan Ennis recorded a 10-point, 11-assist double-double as Rice defeated Tulane 88-74 Saturday to sweep a home-and-home Conference USA series.
Ennis' 11 assists equaled a Conference USA season high and marked the first time since 2006 that a Rice player had 11 or more assists.
With the win, Rice put a halt to a three-game losing skid improving to 12-10 overall and 3-4 in C-USA play. The victory was the first since Connor Frizzelle knocked down a three-pointer to beat the final horn and lift the Owls to a 50-49 win at Tulane earlier this month.
The Green Wave fell to 14-7 and 2-5 with Saturday's loss.
Frizzelle scored a season-high 22 points, going 8-for-11 from the field including 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point line.
Frizzelle and Ibrahim had back-to-back three-pointers in the first minutes of the game as Rice raced out to a 10-2 lead and never trailed in the game.
The Owls went on to stretch their first half advantage to as many as 11 points but Tulane came back to narrow the gap. Jordan Callahan's jumper in the final minute of the period pulled the Green Wave to within three, 40-37.
Frizzelle would answer Callahan's shot with a three-pointer. After Tulane's Trent Rogers sank one of two free throw attempts with 19 seconds, Ennis scored with three seconds left on the clock to send the Owls to the locker room up by seven, 45-38.
Despite finishing the half strong to go up by seven, Rice had allowed Tulane to score on its final five possessions on the Green Wave's offensive side of the floor.
Out of the break, Jarelle Reischel would score on the Owls' first possession and after a Tulane turnover and later a missed shot, Frizzelle drained another three to give Rice a 50-38 lead.
The Wave would shoot just 36 percent from the field in the second period after converting 14-of-26 field goal attempts in the first half.
In the second period, Tulane would close the gap to as few as five points on a Ben Cherry three with 11:36 to play. The three-pointer cut the Rice lead to 60-55. But that would be as close as the Wave would get.
The Rice lead fluctuated between six and 10 points before the Owls went on a 9-0 run capped by a Ibrahim three-pointer extending the lead to 77-60 with 3:53 remaining.
Rice finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Green Wave 39-34.
Ennis' 11 assists was part of a 20-assist game for the Owls. Arsalan Kazemi had four assists and two steals to go along with six points and seven rebounds.
The series sweep marks the Owls' second in as many years. Rice swept a home-and-home series from Houston last year.
Rice closes out the first half of Conference USA play and a stretch in which the team will have played four of five games at home next Wednesday when they take on UTEP in Tudor Fieldhouse. After that, the Owls are on the road for five of their next seven games.