Rice Rally Falls Short Against Tulsa

Rice couldn't repeat its first-round upset magic, falling in the Conference USA tournament to 2-seed Tulsa, by a score of 81-72.

The Owls got behind early, and trailed by double digits for much of the second half, but fought back, and actually had possession of the ball, trailing by just five points with under two and a half minutes to play, but head coach Ben Braun made the controversial decision not to call a timeout and get his best player, Arsalan Kazemi, on the floor. Rice failed to convert the offensive possession, Tulsa's Jordan Clarkson converted a three-point play on the other end, and that was that.

The Owls showed tremendous heart to stay in the game as long as they did, despite a number of factors working against them. The normally steady Kazemi missed his first eight free throw attempts, Tamir Jackson clearly wasn't himself while battling injuries, and none of the Owls' shooters could find the stroke from outside, as Rice shot just 4-of-14 from beyond the arc as a team.

Rice finishes the season with a 14-18 record, but a myriad of close losses makes one wonder if the season could have turned out much differently if a few more breaks had gone the Owls' way. Thursday's loss marks the end of the college careers of Bryan Beasley, Suleiman Braimoh, Cory Pflieger and Trey Stanton, but Rice has a talented, young core returning. Jackson and Kazemi are just sophomores, Connor Frizzelle and Lucas Kuipers have another year of eligibility, and even little-used freshman Omar Oraby, a 7'2" center who hadn't scored a point in the Owls' last 12 games, showed some flashes of talent on Thursday. With his size, he could be a threat in Conference USA with a little more seasoning.

The Golden Hurricane were led by Clarkson's 21 points, Justin Hurtt's 15 points, and Steven Idlet's 12-point, 8-rebound performance. Tulsa has a date with the hosts and highest remaining seed UTEP on Friday in the tournament semi-final.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Houston

You must be a member of SB Nation Houston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Houston. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Houston

You must be a member of SB Nation Houston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Houston. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.