Jan. 3, 1998
|Michael Doleac scores 20 points against Rice|
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Michael Doleac scored 20 points, including six in the final 5:28, as fourth-ranked Utah stayed unbeaten with a 73-65 win over Rice on Saturday.
Utah (12-0) led 61-59 with 5:01 remaining before Doleac and Andre Miller each scored four points in a 12-3 run to hold off the Owls (3-10).
Doleac's two free throws with 49 seconds to play gave the Utes a 73-62 edge, allowing Utah to continue its best start since 1943-44, when the Utes went 13-0 en route to an NCAA championship.
The Utes shot 63 percent from the field to turn back Rice. Miller had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Utah, and Hanno Mottola added 15 points.
Bobby Crawford had 25 points - 17 in the second half - to lead the Owls. T.J. Armstrong added 16 and Jarvis Kelley Sanni 10 for Rice.
Though both teams are in the Western Athletic Conference, the game will not count in league standings, being designated a crossover contest.
Armstrong, who had just six points all season before Saturday, hit a 15-foot jumper to trim Utah's lead to 61-59. However, Mottola made a jumper and Doleac muscled in a bucket and added a foul shot for a 66-59 edge with 3:18 remaining.
Crawford kept the Owls close, hitting a hook shot and a free throw sandwiched around a Miller field goal to make it 68-62 with 2:02 left.
But the Utes connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to hold on.
Utah has won 25 of its last 26 games, and are 4-0 all-time against the Owls.
The Utes led 36-29 at halftime.