Rice started and ended strongly Saturday, beating the Charlotte 49ers 73-68 in overtime in a Conference USA game at Halton Arena.
The Owls (5-11, 2-3) outscored the 49ers (8-9, 2-3) 14-9 in overtime to snap a three-game losing streak.
Charlotte had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but freshman Torin Dorn’s short jumper missed. The Owls never trailed in overtime, taking the lead for good on a 3-pointer by guard Max Guercy after Charlotte had tied it on a dunk by Mike Thorne.
The 49ers, who play at Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday, got 16 points from Dorn and 15 apiece from guard Pierria Henry and forward Willie Clayton. Marcus Jackson’s 20 points led Rice.
The Owls took advantage of 11 49ers turnovers in the first half, scoring 15 points from them and taking a 33-26 lead into halftime.
As was the case in a victory against North Texas on Thursday (when Charlotte had 13 first-half turnovers), Charlotte struggled with Rice’s zone defense in the first half. Power forward Willie Clayton was able to find creases in the zone along the baseline and scored first-half points on six-of-six shooting.
The Owls also made seven-of-17 3-pointers in the first half.
Rice had its own problems with turnovers in the first half, especially taking care of the ball in the open court. Consecutive steals and baskets by 49ers guards Henry and Braxton Ogbueze narrowed an early Rice lead to 14-12, but the Owls extended the margin to as many as 12 by 7 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the half.