EL PASO, (AP) – Arsalan Kazemi had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Rice held off SMU in the final moments for a 58-57 victory in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday night.
Connor Frizzelle had 12 points and Tamir Jackson 11 for the 10th-seeded Owls (14-17), who advance to play No. 2 seed Tulsa in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday.
Papa Dia had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Mustangs (17-14), who beat Rice twice during the regular season. Collin Mangrum scored 12 points and Jeremiah Samarrippas 11.
Mangrum’s jumper got SMU within a point with 33 seconds left, and his steal from Frizzelle gave the Mustangs an opportunity to take the last shot. After a timeout, SMU bled the clock to a second, when Robert Nyakundi’s long jumper missed.
Nyakundi, who averaged 27.5 points and made 11 of 17 3-point tries against the Owls during the regular season, was held to five on Wednesday on 2 of 7 shooting.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)