Rice shoots 62 percent and downs UTSA, 91-78

The Rice Owls gave up all of a 17-point lead before rolling in the second half to a 91-78 victory at home over the slumping UTSA Roadrunners.

UTSA has lost two straight and 11 of its last 13, with two more games looming on a Conference USA road trip.

“We were concerned about their outside shooting,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast. “We knew their big guys were capable and they just dominated us.

“Those two guys (Max Fiedler and Mylyjael Poteat) had their way with us down in the paint.”

Utilizing an array of offensive talent, Rice hit 66.7 percent from the field in the second half and 62.3 percent for the game.

Fiedler led all scorers, pacing five Owls in double figures with 22 points. Poteat had 12 off the bench, including eight in the first half when he hit his first four shots from the field.

Center Jacob Germany scored 20 points for the Roadrunners, who had one of their best offensive showings of the season.

UTSA hit 50 percent from the field, with Darius McNeill, Isaiah Addo-Ankrah and Lachlan Bofinger all shooting the ball well. But on the other end, Rice just had too much talent to guard.

Leading 38-21 late in the first half, Rice struggled defensively and allowed UTSA to tie it 44-44 shortly after intermission. From there, the Owls started to pick up the intensity and gradually ran away with it.

Fiedler and guards Travis Evee and Quincy Olivari all scored 10 points apiece in the second half.

For UTSA, the next stop on the road trip is Denton, with a game set for 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon against the C-USA West Division-leading North Texas Mean Green.

“That’ll be an entirely different deal,” Henson said. “This game had a lot of possessions. Had a lot of flow to it. North Texas is going to cut it in half. Can’t turn the ball over against them. It’ll be tough. It’ll be a tough matchup.”

Records

UTSA 8-15, 1-9
Rice 13-8, 6-4

Coming up

Saturday — UTSA at North Texas (15-4, 8-1)
Monday — UTSA at Middle Tennessee (14-6, 5-2)

First half

Even though the Owls held a 44-40 lead at the half, the Roadrunners felt good as they ducked into the dressing room at intermissiom.

Trailing by as many as 17 points, the Roadrunners rallied behind Addo-Ankrah on a 19-6 run in the last four minutes. Addo-Ankrah hit three 3-point shots in the spree.

Notable

The Roadrunners failed to get two of their top offensive players going against the Owls. Jordan Ivy-Curry was 3 for 17 from the field and Dheiu Deing 3 of 8. Ivy-Curry finished with 10 points and Deing, playing off the bench, had seven. As the game progressed, Ivy-Curry became more of a distributor. He passed for nine assists.

Ankrah, a walk-on, finished with a season-high 15 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting. Bofinger also had one of his better offensive games with 4-of-5 shooting and 10 points. Darius McNeill started and scored 12 points. He hit 6 of 11 field goal attempts. McNeill also had four assists and four rebounds.

Pera’s impact

Rice basketball is on the upswing under fifth-year coach Scott Pera. In 2017-18, Pera’s first season, the Owls scuffled to a 7-24 record. Last year, they finished 15-13 overall and 6-10 in conference. One of their 13 victories this year has come against the UAB Blazers, the best team in the C-USA East.

Rice hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 2012 and hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 1970.

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