Houston, TX -
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles (13-3, 2-1) went on the road to defeat the Rice Owls (8-9, 0-3) at Tudor Fieldhouse, 81-78 in Houston on Wednesday night. The victory marks the 2nd in C-USA play for the Eagles and leaves the Owls still searching for their first conference win.
USM blasted out of the gates with a 10-1 lead on a Josimar Ayarza dunk at the 16:56 minute mark. There was no quit by Rice as they fought to get back in the contest. The Owls took the lead and went on to a 34-25 halftime advantage. The Eagles needed to to make some adjustments so this game did not get out of hand like the massacre on last Saturday at Marshall.
Rice continued to lead in the 2nd half and took a game high 13 point lead on a Conner Frizelle 3-point basket at the 16:26 mark for a 43-30 lead. The Owls shot 10 of 20 for 50 percent from 3-point range for the game. The Black and Gold battled back for a tie score at the end of regulation play, 68-68. This sent the game into the first overtime.
Rice started out the OT period with hot shooting on a 7-2 run. It was up to USM to get back in it to pull it out in overtime. That is exactly what the Eagles did as Gary Flowers lead the charge with 6 OT points to capture the 81-78 victory. Rice put up a great battle and has a better team than their record shows.
Senior forward Gary Flowers scored a game high 24 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 5 assists and swatted away 4 balls for USM on the night. Sophomore guard LaShay Page hit double figures again with 15 points, including 4 of 9 from behind the arc, while senior guard R. L. Horton and freshman guard D. J. Newbill each added 11 points for the Eagles.
Guard Conner Frizelle lead the Owls with 21 points off of the bench with guard Tamir Jackson throwing in 19 points and forward Lucas Kuipers chipping in with 13 points. Rice's leading scorer, Arsalan Kazemi, was held in check by USM scoring only 10 points which is 7 points short of his season average.
This was a good win for the Southern Miss team on the road against a tough Rice squad. USM will be at home next versus the #19th ranked Central Florida Golden Knights (14-1, 1-1) at Reed Green Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The start time is slated for 4 p.m. CST.