In their Conference USA tournament opening round game, Rice saw an 11-point second-half lead over SMU cut down to one point with 2:12 left, but the Owls held on for the win, by a score of 58-57. Rice turned the ball over with 22 seconds to play, but Robert Nyakundi missed a jumper as time expired, sealing the Rice victory.
The exciting big man match-up between Rice's Arsalan Kazemi and SMU's Papa Dia lived up to expectations, with Kazemi scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 boards, while Dia contributed 22 points and 15 rebounds. The Owls overcame poor shooting performances from the floor (20 of 56) and beyond the arc (4 of 16). Tamir Jackson scored just 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting, but still contributed with seven rebounds and five assists.
The No. 10 seed Owls will advance to face No. 2 seed Tulsa, a team that the Owls lost to twice this year, both times by double-digit deficits.
SMU finishes the season with a 17-14 record.