Feb. 2, 2013
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HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball's four-game streak of hot shooting cooled off as the Owls fell to East Carolina, 79-63, on Saturday night at Tudor Fieldhouse. The loss snapped a two-game home winning streak for Rice.
Tamir Jackson led the Owls in scoring with 19 points to accompany nine rebounds. The senior beat his man and drove to the basket on numerous occasions but was often met by a stifling Pirate (13-8, 4-4) defense as his 19 points came on 7-of-24 shooting with 5-of-9 free throws.
Head coach Ben Braun said after the game, "Our guys battled hard in the first half and I thought we put ourselves in a good position for the second half. Then they went into a zone defense and we struggled and were impatient. By the time we solved it, it was too late."
The Owls (5-16, 1-6) overcame a slow shooting start as the team rallied from sinking just three of its first 11 attempts from the field to drain six of its next 15 and keep the score within 29-26 at halftime.
ECU shot out of the gate in the second half to amass a 44-30 lead after four and a half minutes. The visitors never let up after the intermission, shooting 15-of-21 from the field in the frame to finish the night at 57.4 percent from the field.
Maurice Kemp became just the second player to score 30 or more points against the Owls this season as he finished with 33 on 10-of-15 shooting with 13-of-16 free throws. Ty Armstrong added 22 for ECU as the pair combined to shoot 19-of-26 in the game, compared to their teammates' 8-for-21 mark.
Ross Wilson returned to the starting lineup in place of injured sophomore Seth Gearhart and surpassed his previous season rebounding high in the first half en route to seven boards with four points and an assist. The freshman forward landed awkwardly on his back and played only sparingly after the fall, further testing the Owls' depth in the post.
Austin Ramljak was a bright spot for the Rice offense as he sank 3-of-4 four three-pointers for 12 points. He added two steals, an assist and a rebound on the night as well.
Rice hauled in 12 offensive rebounds for 17 second-chance points on the night, though ECU owned a 35-29 advantage on the glass overall. Rice shot 38.6 percent from the field and matched a season low with just five three-pointers in 18 attempts. Max Guercy dished out five of the Owls 12 assists and added nine points on 4-of-11 shooting with a pair of steals.
Rice takes to the road on Wednesday to face UTEP. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT at the Don Haskins Center.