With dramatic victories, the Rice University men's basketball off to their best start in two decades

Adam Winkler Image
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Rice men's basketball team off to best start in two decades
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If the Owls beat UAB on Saturday, they will have their best start since 1955, when Dwight Eisenhower was in office.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Thursday, the Rice University men's basketball team won its 15th 2022-23 season game. Last season, the Owls recorded victory No. 15 on Feb. 26 - precisely one month later.

With a 15-5 record, head coach Scott Pera's team is off to the program's best start since the 2003 season.

"We're trying to break down barriers here at Rice," Pera said during an interview with ABC13 Friday. "We're trying to get to do things that haven't been done here in a long time."

Rice, picked to finish seventh in Conference USA before the season, has won nine of its last 11 games and currently sits in third place in the league. The Owls host reigning C-USA champion Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse.

"Those guys, they want to strive to be at the top of the league and play for championships. Ultimately, that's what we all want to do but there are steps to that. We've taken some big ones over the years," Pera said.

"That's one of the biggest things Coach P said to me when he was recruiting me," Owls junior guard Travis Evee said. "He said he was building something here - trying to get this program in the right direction. Now to see what he told me three years ago come to light - our season has been great this year, and we hope we can keep building on that."

The Owls rank 20th out of 352 teams nationally in most points per game. And lately, they've needed every one of those 81 points per contest.

In the last month, every game Rice has played except one has either been decided by three points or less or gone to overtime.

"Not only now is it fun to watch us play with our style of play, but the games are so exciting," Pera added. "Even if we lose a tight one, people still had a good time. I didn't, but they did."

If Rice beats UAB, the Owls will be off to their best start since the 1955 season.

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