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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Rice at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Where: Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston, Texas

The good feelings of Houston’s 5-1 start are long gone as the Cougars have dropped eight straight and 11 of their last 13 games. The latest loss was an 80-59 defeat at SMU on Saturday which kept Houston trapped in the American Athletic Conference basement at 0-8. However, the Cougars will take a break from AAC play Wednesday in hosting cross-town rival Rice in the final non-conference contest of the season for both teams.

The Owls, who hail from Conference USA, are also coming off a Saturday setback, falling at home to Louisiana Tech 58-45. Rice’s 45 points were a season low as the team shot 32.6 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers. The loss also snapped a two-game win streak for the Owls, who were coming off victories over Charlotte (73-68 in overtime) and Southern Miss (58-56).

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT RICE (6-12): Despite their .333 winning percentage, the Owls are only one win away from matching their victory total from last season. Rice is leading C-USA in free-throw shooting (73.1 percent) and 3-pointers made per game (8.8) – a figure which has increased to 10.1 in conference play. Guard Marcus Jackson is pacing the Owls at 14.7 points per game, while forward Seth Gearhart is averaging 13.9 points and center Andrew Drone records a team-high 5.6 rebounds.

ABOUT HOUSTON (7-12): The Cougars last tasted victory Dec. 28 in beating Mississippi Valley State 80-53 and have since lost their eight AAC games by an average of 12.3 points. Like Rice, Houston also leads its conference with its average of 8.4 3-pointers made per game, thanks in large part to guard Jherrod Stiggers, who ranks seventh nationally with 3.4 treys per outing. With a team-leading 15.3 points, Stiggers is one of three Cougars averaging in double figures, while LeRon Barnes is averaging a team-most 6.5 rebounds on a squad which has been outrebounded by an average of 7.2 per game during AAC play.

TIP-INS

1. Houston holds a 61-18 lead in the series and has won three straight, including a 54-52 victory in Houston’s Toyota Center last season.

2. The contest opens a four-game homestand for the Cougars, whose next road game is Feb. 15 against UCF.

3. Houston and Rice were C-USA rivals from 2005-13 and have met in each of the previous 19 seasons.

PREDICTION: Houston 70, Rice 66

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Rice 6-12 L1 5-5 1-4 0-3 1-5 5-7 3-4
Houston 7-12 L8 5-5 1-6 1-1 1-6 6-6 0-8
Last Meeting
Rice Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/21/13 RICE 52 HOU 54 52 33 30.5 54 33 44.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Rice A. Ramljak 15 41.7 0
Houston T. Thomas 16 70.0 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Rice S. Gearhart 9 0 9
Houston T. Thomas 10 2 8
Assists Player  
Rice M. Guercy 5
Houston T. Womack 3
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Rice M. Jackson 265 41.5 44
Houston J. Stiggers 291 35.5 45
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Rice A. Drone 100 31 69
Houston L. Barnes 124 45 79
Assists Player  
Rice M. Jackson 64
Houston L. Rose 67
Quickchart Matchup
Rice Off vs  Houston Defense
62.0 Points For
68.6 Points Against
40.7 FG%
42.8 FG%
27.4 Reb
34.1 Reb
Houston Off vs  Rice Defense
66.4 Points For
65.7 Points Against
38.7 FG%
44.4 FG%
34.1 Reb
31.7 Reb