Men’s basketball battles with NCAA D1 Rice University in 80-77 loss

The men’s basketball team took NCAA D1 Rice University (RU) down to the wire and lost 80-77 on the road on Friday. OLLU has a history of playing NCAA D1 teams close and beat Texas State University earlier this season 61-58. The Saints finish the season 1-4 overall after multiple games were either cancelled or postponed.

Head Coach Chris Dial commented, “This was a tough season for so many reasons, but I was really proud of our team and staff. I was proud of how our program handled the adversity it was presented and the resiliency we showed. Hats off to Rice for coming out on top in a very physical and competitive game.”


The Saints lost the only previous meeting against Rice 96-86 in 2016.


The Saints matched the pace of the Owls early in the first half. Ethan White (SR/San Antonio, Texas), Darin Minniefield (SR/Houston, Texas), Jordan Embry (SR/Paris, Texas) and Ruben Monzon (JR/San Diego, Calif.) scored on multiple occasions. OLLU trailed by four points with 13:48 remaining in the first frame. The Owls offense found life and they eventually led by 15 points at halftime. White scored 10 points in the first half, followed by Monzon with seven. Minniefield grabbed five rebounds and the Saints forced seven turnovers.

The Saints played an outstanding second half despite trailing by 16 points a few minutes in. Embry sank a three-point shot and then a field goal to cut the Owls lead to three points halfway through the frame. Rice held a steady lead, but the Saints quickly closed in on the score.

White hit a field goal with just over one minute to slice the Owls lead to one point. The Saints committed two costly turnovers with under 30 seconds remaining and were forced to foul. The Owls held on to win by three points, but the Saints tested Rice throughout the entire game and finished the season with their heads held high. The Saints outscored the Owls 45-33 in the second half.

Offensive/defensive standouts

White led the Saints with 24 points, followed by Embry with 17 and Monzon with 15. Monzon grabbed 10 rebounds to earn a double-double. Minniefield led the Saints with seven assists.

Quincy Olivari led the Owls with 25 points. Max Fielder grabbed 12 rebounds and also had four assists.

Inside the box

OLLU combined for 31-of-75 shooting for 41.3 percent, 9-of-23 from three-point range for 39.1 percent and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line for 85.7 percent.

The Saints grabbed 40 rebounds while the Owls collected 53. OLLU forced 17 turnovers and committed 13.

Up next

The Saints finish the 2020-2021 season with a 1-4 record.