Blue Raiders fall in close contest at Rice to open C-USA play –

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Game Recap: Men’s Basketball | | Thomas Donley, MT Athletics
at North Texas
1/8/2022 | 5:00 PM

WGNS 1450 AM, 100.5 FM, 101.9 FM – ESPN 94.9 FM/95.1 FM
HOUSTON, Texas – Rice made 16 of its 24 free throws – including 10 of 15 in the second half – to help hold off a Middle Tennessee squad that attempted five free throws all night Thursday in a 65-61 contest at Tudor Fieldhouse. Eli Lawrence and Josh Jefferson led the way with 13 points apiece in the losing effort.
The Blue Raiders shot just 26.7 percent from long distance coming off an extended layoff as the result of Covid-related postponements in what was supposed to be MT’s opening weekend in Conference USA play.
“We were discussing coming out of our quarantine… that it was most likely going to be ugly,” head coach Nick McDevitt said. “We saw some of the lack of offensive rhythm and flow, or ‘game legs’ if you will, particularly in the first half.”
The first half saw four ties and eight lead changes, as Rice took a 28-25 lead into the locker room. But a 7-0 run to start the second half pushed the Blue Raiders into the lead, which they held for all but 22 seconds of the next 11 minutes.
A 13-0 Owl run starting at the 7:56 mark gave Rice a 55-46 lead with 5:32 to play. A pair of 3-pointers by Jefferson and Lawrence and four points – including an emphatic slam dunk – by DeAndre Dishman helped cut the deficit to three at the final media timeout.
The Blue Raiders crossed halfcourt with 60 seconds to play and three points behind. Teafale Lenard Jr.’s slam dunk cut the Rice advantage to one eight seconds later. A pair of Rice free throws later, the home team was able to protect its lead by intentionally fouling repeatedly, having been called for one foul in the first 19 and a half minutes of the period. Rice made enough of its free throws down the stretch to hold on for the four-point victory.
Game Notes
        –  The Blue Raiders have lost five straight games to Rice and have not won at Tudor Fieldhouse since 2017.
         – Donovan Sims tied Richard Duncan for 10th all-time in Blue Raider history with his 87th career start.
         – Tyler Millin tied a career high with eight rebounds.
         – Middle Tennessee turned the ball over only nine times, tying its lowest mark of the season in games against Division I competition.
– The Blue Raiders’ three made free throws and five attempts were both season lows.

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at North Texas
1/8/2022 | 5:00 PM

WGNS 1450 AM, 100.5 FM, 101.9 FM – ESPN 94.9 FM/95.1 FM

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