How Many Owls Does It Take To Beat A Spartan?

Rice freshman, Michael Harris, grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately came back up for a ferocious slam dunk to make the score 62-50.

Houston, Texas- How many Rice Owls does it take to beat a Spartan? Probably just one!

On one of many missed Spartan free throws during the night, and with 2:33 remaining in the contest, Rice true freshman Michael Harris grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately came back up for a ferocious slam dunk to make the score 62-50.

The standout from Hillsboro, Texas, tied a career-high with 22 points in 29 minutes of action as the Owls beat SJSU 70 to 58 at Autry court.

Guards Omar-Seli Mance and Brock Gillespie also added 13 and 10 points, respectively for the Rice Owls.

The Spartans (6-15, 1-8 WAC) compounded their early problems as Rice (7-11, 2-6 WAC) ran off 12 straight points midway through the first half for a 23-6 lead with 8:49 remaining. After that, San Jose State got no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

"We came out and spotted them 15 points. Then we played 30 minutes of decent defense," said San Jose State coach Steve Barnes, whose team missed out on a chance to move out of last place in the WAC. "People have to understand that it's our defense."

"We did not come out with the determination we needed to stop them," the Spartan coach added. "It was really a poor job on our part at the start of the game."

Freshman Michael Harris, who tied his season high of 22 points, was the key cog in the Rice attack. The 6-foot-6 forward's movement with and without the ball under the basket eventually opened up the perimeter for guards Omar-Seli Mance and Brock Gillespie, who finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

"He has been a consistent finisher in the paint (for us)," said Rice coach and one-time Stanford assistant Willis Wilson of Harris.

"If we establish our post game early, then some teams will help down low and that then opens up our outside game," said Harris.

Rice, a winner over the Spartans for the first time in three seasons, became the third San Jose State opponent in the last four games to shoot at least than 50 percent from the field. The Owls shot 52.1 percent for the game and 54.2 percent in the first 20 minutes.

While Rice was having success offensively, the Owls employed a 2-3 match-up zone the entire game that contributed to San Jose State committing nine first-half turnovers and scoring just 18 points at intermission. It was the second straight game the Spartans failed to score at least 20 points by halftime.

Brandon Hawkins and Phil Calvert each scored 12 points to lead San Jose State offensively.

San Jose State (58) Valentine 1-5 4-4 6; Granucci 3-5 0-2 6; Thurmond 5-9 0-1 10; Hawkins 5-9 2-2 12; R. Davis 0-2 0-0 0; Alvarez 1-7 0-0 3; Black 0-1 0-0 0; Okunrinboye 0-0 0-0 0; Calvert 3-5 3-4 12; Jenkins 4-5 1-3 9. Totals 22-48 10-16 58.

Rice (70) Tyndell 2-7 0-1 4; Harris 9-13 4-6 22; Diene 3-4 3-3 9; Mance 3-7 5-5 13; Smith 0-1 2-2; Gillespie 4-7 0-0 10; Evans 0-2 0-0 0; McKenzie 2-5 2-4 6; Robison 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 25-48 16-21 70.

Halftime Score – Rice 33, San Jose State 18. Three-point field goals – San Jose 4-13 (Valentine, 0-1; R. Davis 0-1, Alvarez 1-7, Calvert 3-4), Rice 4-10 (Tyndell 0-3, Mance 2-5, Gillespie 2-2). Rebounds – San Jose State 24 (Thurmond 6), Rice 33 (McKenzie 7). Assists – San Jose State 11 (Alvarez, 3), Rice 14 (Smith 7). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – San Jose State 16, Rice 12. Technical fouls – none. Attendance – 1,966.

* San Jose State fell to 6-15 on the year and 1-8 against WAC foes this year.

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