- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

HOUSTON (AP) - Marcus Evans scored 26 points with four 3-pointers and Rice broke open a close game to defeat Texas-San Antonio 80-68 on Thursday night.

Evans drained a 3-pointer to break a 65-all tie with 4:24 remaining and Rice (18-8, 8-5 Conference USA) closed the game on a 15-3 run to win going away. Egor Koulechov added a jumper and a 3-pointer in the final surge, Marquez Letcher-Ellis added a steal, a layup and a blocked shot and UTSA missed six of its last seven shots.

Koulechov scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Rice, which has won five straight in conference for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Marcus Jackson added 13 points and Letcher-Ellis 10. The Owls are bunched into the top three in C-USA behind Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech and have a key test with Tech on Feb. 25.

Jeff Beverly led UTSA (11-15, 6-7) with 20 points, his ninth 20-point game of the season.

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