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
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.
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
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