Rice (15-11) at Tulsa (15-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: Rice 10-5, Tulsa 9-4. Away Record: Rice 5-4, Tulsa 5-5. Neutral Record: Rice 0-2, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: Rice 6-5, Tulsa 8-4. Series Record: Tulsa leads, 24-6.
GAMES NOTES: Rice will try to erase the memory of a blowout loss earlier in the season when the Owls land in the Reynolds Center to do battle with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Conference USA action.
Rice was embarrassed on its home floor when these teams met earlier this year after Tulsa ran up a 70-46 win at Tutor Fieldhouse. The win continues the Golden Hurricane's dominance in the all-time series as Tulsa is 24-6 against the Owls. The win was also the 11th straight for the Golden Hurricane in the matchup.
Other than that terrible loss, Rice has had a decent season posting a 15-11 record overall and after winning four of its last five games has moved to 6-5 in C-USA play, tied with Marshall for fifth in the standings.
The win over Rice was part of a season long winning streak for Tulsa which eventually ended at seven games. Since the streak ended the Golden Hurricane have lost two of three games dropping it to 8-4 in conference play which is third in the conference.
Offense was not something in excess in Rice's last outing in which the team squeaked out a 43-39 victory over SMU. The difference in the game was razor thin as the Owls rode a 32.6 shooting percentage to the win, while SMU was just behind at 32.5 percent.
The poor offensive showing was rather surprising for a Rice squad that normally puts in 70.3 points per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, both marks good enough for fifth in the conference. Junior forward Arsalan Kazemi (12.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg) got back to being a double-double producer for the Owls by posting 11 points and 10 rebounds against SMU. The performance was the 15th double-double of the season for Kazemi but the first in over a month. The outing also helped Kazemi maintain his conference leading rebounding average. Junior guard Tamir Jackson (11.2 ppg) is the only other Rice scorer averaging in double digits this season and was also the only other player in double figures against SMU by netting a game-high with 12 points. Jackson has been in double figures in three straight games after being held scoreless in a 77-75 win over UTEP earlier in the month.
Tulsa pushed one of the best teams in the conference to the edge but came up short in falling 77-69 in overtime to Southern Miss when it last hit the hardwood. The Golden Hurricane trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half but stormed back and almost pulled off the upset until a Neil Watson three-pointer with less than a second ripped through the net to send the game to overtime. Southern Miss than took over outscoring Tulsa 11-3 in the extra period.
Tulsa is blessed with one of the conferences best scorers in Jordan Clarkson. The sophomore guard is scoring 16.2 points per game which is second only to Memphis' Will Barton in C-USA. Clarkson had 17 points in the loss to Southern Miss although he shot poorly connecting on 6-of-17 shots from the field. Clarkson has now scored in double figures in 23 straight games after failing to do so in consecutive games earlier in the season. Even with Clarkson, the Golden Hurricane offense has not been prolific in terms of scoring as Tulsa manages only 66.2 points per game which is eighth in the conference. The Golden Hurricane do shoot a decent percentage however knocking down 45.1 percent of its shots from the floor. Scottie Haralson (11.6 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures although Steven Idlet (9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is very close to doing so himself. Kodi Maduka (7.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg) pairs with Idlet on the frontline.
Tulsa dismantled Rice the last time these two teams met and although its unlikely the Golden Hurricane will post another dominating win, it is equally unlikely that the Owls will reverse their fortunes on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 71, Rice 62
02/18 10:39:56 ET