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Louisiana Tech Withstands Furious Rally to Advance Past Rice 70-64

The conference's top team seemed to have this one in hand before the Rice Owls came storming back to give them a scare.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Erik McCree put up his third double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead his team past Rice and into Friday's Conference USA semifinals.

Louisiana Tech came out blazing hot, jumping out to a quick 10-1 lead just over three minutes in the game. Rice would respond with five straight, but it'd take just three more minutes for the Bulldogs to own their first double digit lead of the night at 17-16.

Five straight by McCree would get the lead to 15 at 24-9, but would put together an 11-4 spurt to get back within single digits before heading to the half down 35-25.

The Bulldogs would strike first in the second half, quickly extending their lead back out to 13, but Seth Gerheart would lead a charge to get the Owls back to within 9 at 40-31 with 16:17 to play.

Louisiana Tech would again stretch their lead back out to 15 with another five point spurt, but still Rice wouldn't away. Eight straight by the Owls would pull back to within 7 at 46-39, and the back and forth match would continue.

The Bulldogs would lead by as many as 13 before Rice would coming storming back with one last push. They would close the gap to as few as three with 1:22 to play, but a couple questionable calls in the final minute went La Tech's way, and they would escape 70-64.

Rice's season ends at 12-20, while the Bulldogs improve to 25-7 and advance into the Conference USA semifinals to take on the home team UAB Blazers.

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