Two teams searching for consistency leading into next week’s Conference USA tournament meet today at the UTSA Convocation Center in the regular-season finale.
Once regarded as a candidate to finish in the top half of the C-USA standings, the visiting Rice Owls have lost five of their last six.
Rice’s slide has coincided with the loss of all-conference guard Quincy Olivari, who broke his wrist on Feb. 5 at home against UTEP. Olivari, a third-team, all-C-USA player last season, is not expected to return this year.
The Roadrunners have lost four key players at various junctures of the season. The two major blows within the past few months came when power forward Cedrick Alley Jr. became academically ineligible and guard Jordan Ivy-Curry entered the transfer portal.
Both players were starters. UTSA has dropped three straight games and eight of nine. Long-term, the Roadrunners have struggled with a 3-14 record since mid-December.
Tipoff today is at 2 p.m.
Rice 15-14, 7-10
UTSA 9-21, 2-15
Conference USA tournament
Tuesday — UTSA vs. Southern Miss, at Frisco
Rice at a glance
The Owls lost a heartbreaker Thursday at UTEP when the Miners made a few more plays in the final minute and won, 70-67. With less than a minute remaining, a key play unfolded. With the Miners leading by one point, Owls guard Carl Pierre drove for a basket that would have given his team the lead, only to be called for a charge. A transfer from the University of Massachusetts, Pierre finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.
UTSA at a glance
Battling the top team in the conference, UTSA played a solid game at home Thursday night for about 27 minutes. They were within three points twice of the North Texas Mean Green. In the end, the Thomas Bell, Tylor Perry and Mardrez McBride-led Mean Green pulled out a 59-48 victory. It was UTSA’s third game with fewer than 50 points this season. One was against Oklahoma. The two others were against North Texas.
UTSA leads Rice in the all-time series, 10-8. In games played as foes in Conference USA, the series is tied 6-6. The Roadrunners have won six of seven against the Owls in San Antonio. Rice’s only victory at the Convocation Center came in 2015 in a 76-74 decision. On Feb. 3, in a game at Houston, the Owls shot 62 percent from the field as a team and rolled to a 91-78 victory. Led by Jacob Germany and Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, the Roadrunners were with two points with 11 minutes left but couldn’t sustain the effort. The Rice trio of Max Fiedler, Pierre and Travis Evee combined for 57 points. Those three players hit a combined 22 of 34 shots.