HOUSTON (AP) Andrew Drone scored a career-high 16 points and had 10 rebounds as Rice beat NAIA school St. Thomas (TX) 72-61 on Thursday.
Drone was 5 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. Seth Gearhart added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and both Drone and Gearhart had their first career double-doubles. Bishop Mency and Marcus Jackson finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Rice (3-6) led by as many as 32 points in the second half, with 8:35 left to play.
The Celts responded, however, going on a 23-2 run - holding Rice to a single field goal over a 6:36 span - to close within 12 points with two minutes to go. Gearhart made 2 of 2 at the line and J.T. Trauber hit a 3-pointer to keep the Owls up by double figures.
Deric Dudley scored 15 points to lead St. Thomas.