Owls’ late rally comes up short

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - SPORTS SUNDAY - By Glynn Hill STAFF WRITER [email protected] twit­ter.com/glyn­n_hill

Rice re­turned to Tu­dor Field­house on Sat­ur­day, drop­ping its fourth straight game, 75-68 to Lamar on Sat­ur­day.

“It was a tough loss. I think we showed some signs in the sec­ond half (of ) fight­ing back,” Owls for­ward Robert Martin said. “I think to­day we learned a lot about our­selves … to­day we fought back in­stead of just ly­ing on the ground.”

Lamar (4-4) seized con­trol early and main­tained it through most of the game.

The Car­di­nals raced out to 11-4 lead, in­creas­ing it to 20-7 just six min­utes in. With just over four min­utes be­fore the half, Rice’s deficit had swelled to 17 — par­tially aided by a se­ries of min­utes-long scor­ing droughts in­clud­ing a sixminute stretch with­out a field goal.

Lamar took an 11-point lead into the locker room de­spite its own drought, not scor­ing a field goal in the fi­nal seven min­utes of the half.

“I thought start­ing the last four min­utes of the first half, we dug in, and that’s how we got it back to eleven,” Rice coach Scott Pera said.

The Car­di­nals out­re­bounded the Owls 43-34, but Rice (3-6) re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cantly greater boost from its bench (48 points to Lamar’s nine).

Rice fresh­man Chris Mullins hit a 3-poin­ter to trim Lamar’s lead to 10 just two min­utes into the sec­ond half. But the Car­di­nals re­sponded, scor­ing six unan­swered points.

It was part of a 9-0 run which mounted a game­high 19-point ad­van­tage. When Rice cut it down to nine four min­utes later, Lamar (4-4) shot it back to 14 al­most a minute af­ter.

Down by seven with a lit­tle more than two min­utes left, the crowd at Tu­dor was ready to erupt as Owls play­ers cir­cu­lated the ball around the arc to a wide open Martin. But Martin missed, and Lamar scored on the other end.

Thanks to a pair of Martin free throws, Rice cut the deficit to four with 28 sec­onds left, but Lamar made enough free throws to hold the Owls at bay.

“You can’t shoot 8-for-31 on your home floor and ex­pect to win,” Pera said. “We need to work, we need time to prac­tice; that’s just the bot­tom line.”

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