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Lamar 75, Rice 68 Owls’ late rally comes up short

December 2, 2018

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 six-minute 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 game-high 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.”

glynn.hill@chron.com

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