Mens Basketball: Rice stops Bows, 76-73

Hawaii's rally comes up short as Rice snaps the Bows six game winning streak in Houston.

HOUSTON - The Hawai'i men's basketball team shot a season-high 62.5 percent from the field but committed 24 turnovers in its 76-73 loss to Rice, Wednesday night, at Autry Court. With the loss the Rainbow Warriors (14-4) drop into a first place tie with the Owls and Fresno State, at 6-2 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Senior guard Michael Kuebler and junior forward Julian Sensley provided much of the scoring for the 'Bows, combining for 44 points and seven 3-pointers. Kuebler notched his 12th 20-point game of the season while finishing with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Sensley set a career-high of 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

The loss also snapped UH's school-record six-game WAC win streak. In addition, the 'Bows also lost for the first time on the road after winning its first three games.

The combination of Michael Harris and Jason McKrieth scored 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting for the Owls, who improved to 14-5 overall.

In the first half, UH used a 14-2 run, including three consecutive baskets by Haim Shimonovich, to take a 18-10 lead. With the 'Bows ahead 23-16, the Owls went on a 10-0 run with McKrieth and J.R. Harrison scoring all of Rice's points.

The Owls pushed its lead to 32-25 after a Jamaal Moore breakaway dunk. The 'Bows closed to 33-29 but Rice scored the next eight points to take its largest first half lead at 41-29.

Rice's pressure defense forced 13 Hawai'i turnovers in the first half as the Owls took a 43-34 halftime lead. Rice picked up 11 steals while out-rebounding UH, 13-8. Both teams shot the ball well, as the Owls converted 64 percent to UH's 60.9 percent.

Rice held a 60-47 lead at the 13:49 mark, but the 'Bows used a 9-0 run to pull within four. Moments later, Jason Carter's 3-pointer narrowed the gap to 63-61 with 8:11 remaining.

The 'Bows then missed on two opportunities to tie, which allowed Rice to push its lead to 68-63 with 4:47 left. Sensley's three-point play with 1:43 left, closed the deficit to 70-68. But on Rice's next possession, Shimonovich fouled out of the game and Brock Gillespie converted two free throws for a 72-68 lead.

With under a minute to play, Sensley missed on a 3-point attempt but on the rebound was called for an offensive foul. Yamar Diene made two free throws to give Rice a 74-68 lead with 18.4 seconds remaining.

Kuebler gave UH one last hope as his rainbow trey with 7.1 seconds left closed the deficit o 74-71. But Rashid Smith made both free throws to seal the victory.

The 'Bows next head to Tulsa, Okla., where they face off against the Golden Hurricane, Saturday, Jan. 31. Tip-off is set for 2:05 p.m. CST at the Donald Reynolds Center. The game can be heard on KKEA Radio (1420 AM).

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