HOUSTON — A.J. Lapray scored 16 points with a career-high 10 rebounds, Miles Lester made a go-ahead free throw, and Rice closed on a 23-6 run to hold off crosstown foe NAIA St. Thomas (Texas) 70-59 on Saturday night.

Austin Meyer scored a career-high 14 off the bench, Bishop Mency grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds, and the Owls (2-4) outrebounded the Celts 47-31 and made 29 of 38 free throws.

The Celts rallied to a 45-42 lead on Orowo Eleyae’s layup with 12:45 to play after Rice made 2 of 9 from the floor. Lapray’s 3 put Rice up 47-45, but Sam Flores’ 3 sparked an 8-0 run and the Celts led 53-47. Rice scored six straight to tie it at 53 before Lester’s go-ahead free throw and 3-pointer put the Owls up 57-53. Rice hit six free throws in the final 1:27 to seal it.

Lapray opened with a 3 to spark a 13-5 run and Rice led 35-30 at halftime behind his three 3-pointers.

Byron Makel scored 17 for the Celts (5-2), Flores added 12 and Kennard Robinson had 10.