HOUSTON (AP) — Zack Bryant had a career-high 30 points with five rebounds and three assists and UAB held off a late rally to defeat Rice 89-86 on Saturday night.
Rice cut into what was once a 13-point second-half deficit and Trey Murphy’s 3-pointer had the Owls within 70-69 with less than six minutes remaining. Two minutes later, a 3-pointer by Bryant put UAB up 78-72 with 3:44 remaining.
Still, UAB couldn’t quite put Rice away. Even after Bryant made two free throws for a five-point UAB lead with nine seconds remaining, Rice’s Ako Adams made a 3-pointer and it was 88-86 with three seconds to go. The Owls fouled Tavin Lovan and he made the second of two free throws before Adams missed a desperation 3.
UAB (14-7), which defeated North Texas on Thursday, created a three-way tie atop Conference USA. The Blazers, North Texas and UTSA are all 6-2.
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Murphy, a freshman guard, led Rice (8-13, 3-5) with a career-high 24 points. He made 5 of 7 3-pointers and all nine of his free throws. Chris Mullins had 16 points, Adams 12 and Quentin Millora-Brown had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Jeremiah Bell scored 17 points for the Blazers. Bryant made 7 of 8 free throws.