NORFOLK (WAVY) — Rice rookie Marcus Evans returned to Hampton Roads on Saturday and scored 20 points to help lead the Owls past Old Dominion 75-66.
Evans, who went to Great Bridge High School and Cape Henry Collegiate, was 5 of 12 from the floor and made 10 of 12 free throws.
“Just an amazing thing,” Evans said. “Just to get see my close family and close friends, for them to see me play for the first time in a while it’s just a great experience.”
Egor Koulechov added 17 points, and Andrew Drone and Marquez Letcher-Ellis chipped in 10 points apiece for Rice (9-16, 4-8 Conference USA).
Trey Freeman scored 27 points on 11-of-28 shooting to lead Old Dominion (14-11, 7-5), which had its four-game win streak snapped.
Rice led 39-31 at halftime and opened the second half on a 10-3 spurt to make it 49-34, and held a double-digit lead for nearly the rest of the way.
Freeman scored five straight points as part of a 9-4 surge to pull the Monarchs to 70-64 with 44 seconds left. The Owls made 5 of 6 free throws to seal it.
“This one should hurt, I don’t want them shrugging this off and saying on to the next one,” ODU coach Jeff Jones said. “If you look at our last two games we’ve played only one really good half and that’s not enough, we’re not talented enough and we’ve got to play smarter, tougher and play a lot harder.”
ODU falls to fifth place in league play and hits the road to take on Western Kentucky on Thursday.