It was difficult to predict exactly how things would unfold on Wednesday evening for Rice giving the gaping hole in its rotation.
Junior forward Arsalan Kazemi strained his back against Northern Iowa last Friday at the South Padre Island Invitational and played through the pain the following afternoon against Iowa State. He exhausted his resiliency this week during practice, forcing Rice coach Ben Braun to make the prudent decision and rest Kazemi against Houston Baptist.
That move left the Owls bereft of the rebounding, interior scoring and infectious vibrancy Kazemi provides most nights. That he was missing his first game since Dec. 2, 2009 put the Owls in a precarious position of needing to discover an identity without their most identifiable player.
Collectively the Owls picked up the slack and filled the void, crashing the boards in concert to will their way past the Huskies 78-66 at Sharp Gym.
"I really didn't know what to expect in terms of where our rebounds would come f...