Guaranteed of finishing in the basement of Conference USA, Rice (5-23, 1-13) can’t improve upon its 12 seed in next week’s men’s basketball conference tournament.
But two Owls have two more games to present further evidence of their award-caliber play. Tamir Jackson could land on the all-Conference USA team and Max Guercy is a candidate for Freshman of the Year.
Guercy is locked in a battle with Danuel House of Houston and James Woodard of Tulsa for the award. Ironically, Houston and Tulsa are the two teams left on Rice’s schedule.
Rice’s 5-9 guard is closing strong. Guercy was honored for the fifth time Monday as Conference USA Freshman of the Week. He also won the same award last week.
The Arleta, Calif. native had 19 points and five steals against Tulane Feb. 23. In that game, he hit six of 10 field goals, made three of his five 3-poins and added three rebounds and two assists.
After sitting on the bench with foul trouble in the first half, Guercy scored 13 second half points to go along with his four assists, four steals and three rebounds in a loss to SMU Wednesday. He had 11 points and a career high six rebound during the Owls loss to UTEP Saturday.
Guercy ranks second on the Owls in scoring with 10.2 points per game. He leads the team in assists (70), steals (43) and 3-point shooting percentage (40.5). He has made 59 of 74 (80 percent) free throws, which ranks as the eighth best percentage in the conference.
As for the competition, House is averaging 13 points and five rebounds a game. Those stats are better than Guercy, but the 6-7 forward from Sugar Land is a worse shooter from 3-point land (33 percent) and on free throws (72 percent).
Woodard is Tulsa’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. The 6-4 guard from Edmond, Okla. averages about 12 points and six rebounds a contest. Similar to House, his assist, steals and shooting numbers are less favorable than Guercy’s. However, as the top player for a team that has won 15 games, including seven in conference, Woodard may get the most votes.
Guercy and the Owls ride across town to play Houston at 7 p.m. Wednesday. UH is the only conference team has Rice has defeated this season. The Owls wrap up the regular season against Tulsa at home Saturday on Senior Night.