Rice gets first win of the season, 55-49 over Eastern Illinois
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)—Jasen Williams scored 20 points and hit a crucial 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to lead Rice to a 55-49 victory over Eastern Illinois on Friday night in the first round of the Hawkeye Challenge.
Patrick Britton added 14 points for Rice (1-4).
With Rice down a point with just over a minute left, Britton hit a jumper from 15 feet that, following a free throw, gave Rice a 50-49 lead. Williams buried a 3 on the Owls’ next possession to push the lead to four, and he iced the game with two free throws.
Rice held a slim lead for much of the second half, but Eastern Illinois’ Bobby Catchings hit a 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead 47-44. Rodney Foster responded with a 3 that brought Rice even.
Rice led 27-25 at intermission.
Mike Robinson had 12 to lead Eastern Illinois (1-5), which has lost five straight. The Panthers held Rice’s leading scorer, Paulius Packevicius, to two points.