Rice (7-17) at Old Dominion (12-14)

The Sports NetworkFebruary 20, 2014 

GAME NOTES: The Rice Owls step into the Constant Center tonight to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in a Conference USA matchup.

Rice is just 2-9 in conference play and 2-10 outside of its own building this season. The Owls have lost four of their last five outings overall, including Saturday's ugly 85-46 setback at Louisiana Tech. This will be the second leg of a three-game road trip for the Owls.

Meanwhile, ODU has split its last 10 contests over the past month. The Monarchs traveled to Tulsa over the weekend and were utterly embarrassed in a 76-37 final. The 37 points were the fewest they scored in a game since the program bumped up to Division I in 1976-77.

This bout marks the first meeting since 1971 between Rice and first-year C-USA member ODU. The Monarchs won that matchup more than 30 years ago, which was also the only previous meeting in the all-time series.

There were not many positives for the Owls to take from their lopsided loss to first-place Louisiana Tech on Saturday. After all, they committed a season- high 23 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Bulldogs. Rice shot just 38.3 percent from the floor as a team and was out-rebounded by a 41-25 margin. In fact, the Owls did not have a single player reach double figures in the scoring column. On the season, they are shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor and are -6.9 in scoring margin and -4.5 on the boards. They have also forced an average of just 11.2 turnovers per game. Austin Ramljak is a 40.3- percent shooter from beyond the arc (73-of-181), and he leads the way with 11.8 ppg, while top rebounder Sean Obi (11.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and guard Max Guercy (10.0 ppg) also average double figures.

The top scorer for ODU is guard Aaron Bacote, a 36-percent 3-point shooter (40-of-112) who averages 16.0 ppg. Fellow guards Dimitri Batten (10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Keenan Palmore have also made steady contributions in the scoring department, while Richard Ross (9.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) takes care of business in the paint. But like Rice in its most recent game, the Monarchs certainly did not light up the scoreboard in their last outing at Tulsa. They committed 22 turnovers, which led to 23 points for the Golden Hurricane, while scoring just five points off 21 Tulsa miscues. The Monarchs also shot a dismal 27.7 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded, 34-21. Ambrose Mosley had a team-high 12 points in 26 minutes off the bench, and Ross finished with 11 points in the loss.

One of these teams will rebound from a blowout loss and get back into the win column, while the other suffers yet another setback. ODU has played only marginally better of late, and the Monarchs have the homecourt advantage in this matchup.

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