Aggies Fall to Rice, 65-58
David Loubeau led the Aggies (8-3) with 14 points. Rice's Arsalan Kazemi grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, and the Owls held a 37-28 rebounding advantage.
Rice (8-4) shot 47.7 percent (21 of 44) from the floor, while holding the Aggies to 39 percent (23 of 59).
The Owls won in College Station for the first time since 1995 and defeated the Aggies for the first time since 1996, in the last season of the Southwest Conference. The programs had played only three times since as nonconference foes prior to Thursday, all A&M victories.
Rice also snapped A&M's 67-game home nonconference winning streak. Texas A&M has lost two consecutive games following a six-game winning streak, while Rice snapped a two-game losing streak.
RICE 65, TEXAS A&M 58
Thursday, December 22, 2011 - Reed Arena - College Station, Texas
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME NOTES
- The loss snapped Texas A&M's 67-game home non-conference win streak dating back to 2005, and A&M's 80-game home, regular-season, non-conference win streak (dating back to 2003) ... A&M is now 99-10 all-time in non-conference games at Reed Arena and has won 40 of its last 44 home games overall.
- The crowd of 8,284 was a season high.
- Dash Harris scored a season-high 13 points, one off his career high (14 vs Oklahoma State in 2010).
- David Loubeau scored 14 points to bring his career total to 997 ... Loubeau is now 3 points shy of becoming the 32nd player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau ... Loubeau also grabbed 6 rebounds to bring his total to 491 ... he is 9 shy of becoming the 21st player in school history to total 500 boards.
- Jordan Green had a career high 4 steals.
- Keith Davis earned the first start of his career.
TEXAS A&M POSTGAME QUOTES
HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
"Obviously we're disappointed. I thought we didn't finish off plays defensively with great effort, and you've got to give Rice credit. They made some plays at the end of the shot clock. It seemed like when we needed a big rebound, needed a loose ball, we didn't make the play that we needed to make. On the defensive end, we have got to be able to make those plays. Offensively, it seems like we've got guys pressing. Everyone's trying to make a quick play instead of being patient. I thought in the first half we had a lot of things go wrong with Kourtney and Khris, foul trouble...we're not good enough to overcome some of those things. We've got a find a way to get better when things like that happen to us. We've got to get some more support from our bench. I really think Dash Harris and Jordan Green gave us as good an effort as they can give us. We need to get more of our guys giving the effort that they give."
On the key to the game...
"We gave up 8 offensive rebounds in the first half and I thought the last 3 minutes of the first half was the big key. We were in foul trouble, we tried to go small. Keith and Ray were both in foul trouble, Kourtney was out, so we had to go small. We didn't do a good job of rebounding and getting back in transition and transition defense with that lineup in the game."
On Kourtney Roberson's status...
"Kourtney's probably going to be out 4 to 6 weeks. They think he has a fracture in his (left) ankle."
On what Kourtney's loss does for depth...
"We've got to get Daniel Alexander some minutes and see what he can do. We tried to play small-that didn't help us tonight, it helped us against Florida. We just have such a small margin for error that we have got to get better at some of the little things. It starts in practice, having practice habits where guys can get through a whole practice with the defensive effort and intensity and effort that we want them to."
G DASH HARRIS
On not being able to get the momentum back...
"It's never going to be an easy game, especially when you have Texas A&M on the front of your jersey. They came in and withstood our runs. They made one right before half, and we didn't get good possessions. We didn't get good looks at the basket, we forced up some quick shots and we couldn't get a stop when we wanted to. In the second half they continued to hit shots, and they were the better team tonight."
How important is it as a leader to get the team back on track?
"It's very important. We've got about a 3 and a half day break, and we can't just go home and sit down. Even with a win we couldn't have. We just have to come back and remember what this feeling is like. We don't want this feeling in the locker room again, losing at home. It starts in practice with us as a team, being consistent. We were an inconsistent team tonight, and it showed. That's one thing we need to work on. We've got some young guys, and even our vets, David and I as seniors, it's up to us to get it right."
F DAVID LOUBEAU
What can you take from this game?
"Come back from the break and really reflect on Texas A&M identity, and that's defense. Competing more in practice, hustle plays and playing harder than everybody else."
What did Rice's big men and their size do to keep y'all off the glass?
"I really think their size didn't concern us. We weren't playing hard, and I'll give it to them. They were playing harder than us."
Did their rebounding play a big role in the fact that you weren't able to make a run late?
"No, it was just the fact that they were playing harder than us. They were getting loose balls, they were getting second-chance points on the other end."
RICE POSTGAME QUOTES
HEAD COACH BEN BRAUN
"I thought our guys came out with a pretty good mindset on the defensive end. It was important for us to go out and defend because Middleton, we know he's a good scorer. I thought we did a pretty good job on him. Collectively we faced a team that is a pretty solid rebounding team and they've been dominating their opponents. We went out and were able to get some rebounds and loose balls and that was a big key to the game. I thought we did a good job staying patient, finding open guys and that was important."
On his team's effort...
"Our guys were focused and our guys played hard. And A&M's a team that plays hard. Billy's teams play hard. I know Billy well, coached with him. His teams are going to play hard. So for us to play maybe harder, arguably, that's a pretty big statement. We kept fighting, possession by possession. We talked about sustaining our effort and that's what you have to do. We might have had a couple of turnovers or a couple of miscues, but we never let a missed shot or a turnover compound. I thought our consistency was better today. We battled from the beginning to the end. We didn't have many let-ups. It's a good formula for our team. We have to play that way."
Did your rebounding keep A&M from making a run and getting back into the game?
"I thought we did a good job about staying consistent. This is a team that has some pretty aggressive guys and I thought we matched their aggressiveness. We became an aggressive team tonight. We just made the commitment to go get every loose ball, every rebound we could. They did get some offensive put-backs second half, but we stayed with it and we challenged. We made A&M work because we know they're a good team. We have a lot of respect for their team. They have been very successful here, especially in their non-conference. Wow. That's quite a feat. (A&M) is going to win plenty of games this year, I'm sure. They're a good team, they're going to win some games and they're going to have a good year."
F ARSALAN KAZEMI
Was rebounding the key to the game?
"Definitely. At the beginning of the game they were getting a lot of offensive rebounds and that was a big reason why they got ahead. But we came back, got every loose ball and that's how we got back into the game. I think that was one of the main reasons we won this game."
David Loubeau said y'all just played harder, would you agree with that?
"We played better, smarter and we played harder. I'm really proud of my teammates, because every single one of them that came out to play was ready, and they made big plays. They were doing their best."
On the team's effort...
"I'm telling you, this was one of the first games where we went after every loose ball, especially me. I saw the ball on the floor and I was just there, dive on it. I didn't care what was going to happen to me. I was just trying to play hard and get this win before Christmas so we can enjoy our break."
What does it mean for your program to come in and get a victory tonight?
"It was great. Last year we got LSU at home, and this was another big game for us. We were very happy. We're going to enjoy our win but we are just going to think about our next game."