Rice (3-9) at Harvard (7-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195) -- Cambridge, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Rice 3-4, Harvard 5-1. Away Record: Rice 0-2, Harvard 2-4. Neutral Record: Rice 0-3, Harvard 0-0. Conference Record: Rice 0-0, Harvard 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Winless away from home in five tries so far this season, the Rice Owls give it another go on Saturday afternoon as they pay a visit to the Harvard Crimson for a non-conference bout at Lavietes Pavilion.
Rice has a total of only three wins this season, all coming at home with one against a program outside of the Division I ranks (St. Edward's) and another in overtime (Chicago State). Since that latest victory on Dec. 19 versus the Cougars, Rice has bowed to both TCU and Texas, which means the squad has fallen in four of the last five outings overall.
As for the Crimson, they just got back from a west coast trip during which they defeated California (67-62) before falling to Saint Mary's (70-69) in the final second on New Year's Eve. The setback against the Gaels snapped a three- game win streak by the squad.
The series between these two teams is tied at one game apiece, with the Owls posting a 67-63 win in 2008-09, and Harvard returning the favor the following season at home, 85-64.
Austin Ramljak knocked down 4-of-7 shots behind the 3-point line, scoring 14 points in a reserve role for the Owls, but it wasn't nearly enough as the team generated a mere 41 points on a woeful 31.9 percent shooting from the floor in the loss to the Texas Longhorns over the weekend. Tamir Jackson was responsible for another 12 points, but he made just 1-of-5 out on the perimeter and 5-of-17 shots from the field overall for a squad that was crushed on the glass (46-23), cleared just two offensive rebounds and was outscored at the free-throw line, 18-4. Jackson continues to be the only bright spot for an otherwise dismal program right now, his 17.5 ppg representing a huge portion of the unit's mere 57.9 ppg. Granted, Jackson is shooting just 38.2 percent from the floor, but with the entire team down at 39.0 percent, the Owls have nothing else to hang their hats on.
After beating California two days prior, the Crimson turned their attention to Saint Mary's and appeared to have the meeting with the Gaels under control, leading by as many as 18 points in the first half. In fact, Harvard led until the final seconds when a pair of free throws by SMC put the hosts into the win column. Jonah Travis did all he could to get the visitors the victory, shooting 8-of-10 from the floor as he finished with a game-high 19 points, while Siyani Chambers accounted for 16 points and seven assists as he converted all five of his 3-point tries. Wesley Saunders checked in with 14 points, five boards and five dishes. The only two players to have started all 12 games for Harvard are also the top two scorers for the squad with Saunders pouring in 15.8 ppg and Chambers accounting for 12.5 ppg. Throw in Laurent Rivard (10.5 ppg) and you have three players who are all shooting better than 41.5 percent behind the 3-point line at the moment.
Given how well the Crimson has played recently, aside from turning the ball over late in the meeting with SMC, there's no reason to think that Harvard can't come away with another win on Saturday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 62, Rice 50
01/05 10:39:39 ET