Rice, UAB meet in conference play

Rice (10-4, 4-2) vs. UAB (10-2, 3-1)

Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama; Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Rice visits UAB in a CUSA matchup. Rice fell short in a 61-58 game at home to Old Dominion in its last outing. UAB lost 70-55 on the road against Charlotte in its most recent game.

SQUAD LEADERSHIP: The Owls have been led by sophomores Max Fiedler and Travis Evee. Fiedler has averaged 11.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists while Evee has recorded 15.5 points per game. The Blazers have been led by Michael Ertel and Tavin Lovan, who are averaging 13.2 and 10.9 per game, respectively.

IN-CONFERENCE IMPROVEMENT: The Owls have scored 77.7 points per game to conference opponents thus far. That’s an improvement from the 74.5 per game they managed against non-conference opponents.

SPARKING THE OFFENSE: Fiedler has been directly responsible for 44 percent of all Rice field goals over the last five games. The sophomore forward has 32 field goals and 25 assists in those games.

LONG-RANGE THREAT: UAB’s Jalen Benjamin has attempted 86 3-pointers and connected on 34.9 percent of them, and is 12 for 46 over the last five games.

ACCOUNTING FOR ASSISTS: The Owls have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Blazers. UAB has 39 assists on 71 field goals (54.9 percent) over its previous three games while Rice has assists on 42 of 69 field goals (60.9 percent) during its past three games.

TOUGH DEFENSE: UAB has held opposing teams to 56.4 points per game this year, the lowest figure among all Division I teams.

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