What a debut. Rice scored a team-high 22 points and added nine rebounds. Constantly driving to the basket, Rice sank 9 of his 10 free throws, making up for four misses from beyond the arc. The 22 points ties Brandon Paul's school record for most points in a debut.
"I thought once he got aggressive it really helped our team," Coach John Groce said.
"Obviously Ray really took that to heart. He started to make some plays for us."
Three stars next in line:
The junior big man notched his second career double-double, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 4-for-6 from the field, had two blocks and no fouls. Egwu said after the game that he constantly thinks about getting rebounds.
"Honestly, yeah rebounds," Egwu said. "I actually do. Rebounds, I try to make sure I'm trying to get double digits throughout the game. In certain situations they're going to come to you, you have different games or match-ups and stuff like that so it's going to be different every game. The mindset is try to get as many rebounds every night."
Active all night, the senior finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Bertrand was an efficient 6 of 9 from the floor, with four turnovers the only knock on his performance.
"We wanted to make the most of it," Groce said. "I thought Joe took that to heart. Joe played today like he's been practicing. He's been practicing like that everyday. He's been very consistent with his effort and his production."
It's true that Abrams didn't have his best night shooting. He finished with nine points after hitting 3 of 10 from the floor. But the junior guard was aggressive against Alabama State's zone and helped open things up for others. He added five rebounds and three assists, proving his worth on a night when the shots just weren't falling.