The Southern Miss men's basketball season came to a close Wednesday thanks to an onslaught of 3-pointers and free throws by Rice.
Rice topped USM 86-75 in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Owls hit 29 of 32 free throws and converted on 13 of 29 3-pointers to send the Golden Eagles back to Hattiesburg.
Marcus Evans led Rice with 26 points, hitting five of nine 3-pointers. Marcus Jackson added 20 points and Egor Koulechov pitched in 17 and 12 rebounds.
The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw USM take the lead at 63-61 with 8:35 remaining following a layup by Cortez Edwards.
Rice responded by outscoring USM 25-12 the rest of the way.
Rice will face UTEP at 2 p.m. on Thursday in the C-USA Tournament quarterfinals.
Senior forward Quinton Campbell had another nice game on the offensive end, leading USM with 23 points and seven rebounds.
Edwards, a sophomore guard, was the Eagles' best perimeter player, scoring 21 and dishing out eight assists.
Senior guard Michael Ramey was the only other USM to score in double digits with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
USM made its first trip to the C-USA Tournament since 2014. The program endured a two-year postseason ban the last two seasons due to an investigation of Donnie Tyndall's conduct as head coach there from 2012-14.
USM finished head coach Doc Sadler's third year on the job with a record of 9-22.