Louisiana Tech coach Michael White directs his team during the first half of a Conference USA tournament second round NCAA basketball game against Rice in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, March 12, 2015. (AP Photo/AL.com, Mark Almond)
AL.com, Mark Almond
March 13, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Erik McCree had 17 points and 12 rebounds to help No. 1 seed Louisiana Tech beat ninth-seeded Rice 70-64 in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament on Thursday night.

Alex Hamilton scored 15, Raheem Appleby 11, and Michale Kiser added 10 for Louisiana Tech (25-7), which will face fourth-seeded UAB in the semifinals Friday.

Rice (12-20), which trailed by as many as 15 in the second half, scored nine in a row, and 11 of 13, to pull within three twice in the final 1:22.

Louisiana Tech, however, made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 43 seconds to hold off the Owls.

The Bulldogs made just one of its last eight field-goal attempts and shot 39.7 percent for the game, but committed just six turnovers while converting 17 Rice miscues into 24 points.

Seth Gearhart led Rice with 16 points, including 12 in the second half.

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