Texas took an early 17-8 lead on a Jai Lucas floater but began to struggle against Rice's zone defense. The Longhorns shot just 8-24 in the half — including 2-10 from the three-point arc — and saw star Jordan Hamilton put up zero points on 0-5 shooting. Rice took advantage of the cool streak, ending the half on a 15-3 run and taking a 23-20 lead into the halftime break.
That coolness from the three-point line didn't last long. The Longhorns hit seven of their first 10 in the second half, including a 4-4 string from Hamilton and 2-2 from Cory Joseph. The 10th shot, a make from Lucas, gave the Longhorns a 48-41 advantage.
Lucas hit another big one a few minutes later. Rice closed to within one at 50-49 after three-pointers from Cory Pflieger and Lucas Kuipers, and had a chance to take the lead. But Rice missed its shot attempt and Lucas hit a three-pointer with 4:15 left to give the Longhorns a bit more distance. After Rice's Tamir Jackson scored on a driving bucket, Joseph hit his fourth three of the game, upping Texas's lead to 56-51.
The Longhorns again led by five at 58-53 before four straight free throws — two from Jackson and two from Arsalan Kazemi — sliced the Texas led to one at 58-57. But Gary Johnson found Joseph all alone under the basket for a lay-up and a three-point lead.
From there, both teams struggled with their free throws. Jackson was fouled, but converted just one of two. On the other end, Joseph missed the front end of a one-and-one, only to have Thompson gobble up the miss. Thompson made one of his two for a 61-58 advantage with 10.4 seconds left. Kazemi was fouled and made one of two, before Hamilton did the same for Texas.
That made the game 62-59 with 6.2 seconds left, plenty of time for the speedy Jackson to get down the court and hoist a fall-away three, which hit the rim and fell harmlessly off as the buzzer sounded.
Joseph led Texas with 14 points, including the Longhorns' last field goal. Hamilton scored 13, all in the second half. And Thompson had a double-double, scoring 10 points and snagging 10 rebounds.
Kazemi led Rice in scoring and rebounding with 13 points and eight boards. Jackson, who caused problems all day with his speed, added 12, and Pflieger chipped in 12, all on three-point shots.
Texas hit 12 shots from the field in the second half, nine of which were three-pointers.
Rice fell to 3-3 with the loss.