HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) – The Owls have had a few days off since their 70-46 loss to Tulsa at Tudor Fieldhouse on last Saturday. They had no Arsalan Kazemi who was resting a sore left knee and worse, the veteran threesome of Connor Frizzelle, Tamir Jackson, and Lucas Kuipers only scored a total of 3 points combined, all on free throws. It was hardly a good shooting night says Rice Head Basketball Coach, Ben Braun.
“We’ve had a better shooting day with Connor, Lucas, and Tamir, (all) go a combined 0-for-14 – that’s tough. It’s going to be a struggle. You got to put the ball in the basket.”
Meanwhile, one guy who did put the ball in the basket was freshman forward Jarelle Reischel who led all Owls with 11 points and was the second leading scorer in the game.
“I thought Jarelle played really hard today and he probably would have had a few more baskets had there not been 7-footers hovering around inside and (He) made some big plays. But, I liked his aggressiveness and he’s been practicing very well. Thought he was on the floor for a loose ball, he dove on the floor for a loose ball in front of our bench. I mean that was the kind of effort and grit we need; we’re going to need (that) from our team.”
Reischel also grabbed 6 boards and was 3-of-5 from the free throw line. Add one assist and Braun likes what he saw so much that there could be a new face in the starting lineup.
“(He) got to the foul line; that’s important,” says Braun. “He got to the foul line as much as anybody today and managed a game high 6 rebounds. He was the only player we had in double figures. And I thought he defended well. So, we just got to find some guys that match his energy and his effort and I think we’ll get back there.”
ALL HANDS ON DECK
It was obvious against Tulsa that the Owls missed junior forward Arsalan Kazemi who had an MRI performed last Wednesday that revealed no structural damage, only inflammation. But, Kazemi needed a game break to rest the knee. Therefore, 7’2” sophomore center Omar Oraby started, played 18 minutes, grabbed 2 rebounds, and scored 6 points.
In fact, nine Owls played double-digit minutes as Braun continued to search for the right combination of players to work. It never happened. That reinforces just how important Kazemi is to the lineup.
The Owls will need Kazemi back in the lineup Wednesday night against Memphis and the Coach pulls no punches when debating the issue of whether or not Kazemi is healthy enough to play.