One of the trendy picks in the Conference USA this season has lived up to expectations through its first six games of the 2016-17 season.
The Rice Owls, who led by preseason Conference USA Player of the Year in Marcus Evans, have started the year with a 5-1 record. After a loss to the Texas Southern Tigers, the Owls have reeled off four straight wins, two of which came on the road, and look like a true contender in the conference.
While Evans has been his usual self, it’s another guard who has stepped up to give the Owls a bonafide one-two punch on the back end. Junior guard Egor Koulechov is putting up some impressive numbers to open the year, but they shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The native of Volgograd, Russia averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 rebounds last year, his first with the Owls after transferring from the Arizona State Sun Devils. So far in 2016-17, he’s topped those numbers.
Over the past seven days, Koulechov averaged 21.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest, en route to helping lead Rice to a perfect 3-0 week.
For his efforts, junior guard Egor Koulechov was named the College Court Report Fan-Voted Player of the Week!
After a road win over the Omaha Mavericks pushed the Owls’ record to 2-1 on the year, they had a tough week of games ahead of them as they looked to build momentum heading towards December.
Up first was a date against high-scoring sophomore guard Tyler Hall and the Montana State Bobcats. With both Hall and Evans being the focal points of the game, it was bound to be a close affair.
In 29 minutes of action, Koulechov recorded his second-straight game with 15 points, and added 6 rebounds in Rice’s 83-78 victory over the Bobcats. It was his fourth-straight game in double-figures to open the season.
Two nights, later, Koulechov recorded his first double-double of the season in the Owls’ 80-58 rout of the Delaware State Hornets. He finished the game shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, recording 15 points for the third straight game, and adding 13 rebounds in the win.
To cap off a successful week, both for the team and himself, Koulechov made a little bit of history on Saturday.
The Owls went on the road to face off against the Incarnate Word Cardinals. While Rice came away with he 87-79 win, all anyone could talk about was Koulechov’s individual performance.
He recorded 35 points and 13 rebounds in the win, giving him back-to-back games with a double-double. He finished the game a perfect 6-of-6 from three point range on the night.
Koulechov became just the fifth player in Rice history to record a 35-point, 10-rebound game.
Over the three games, Koulechov averaged 21.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. He shot a combined 22-of-41 (53.7%) from the floor, and 8-of-15 (53.3%) from three point range.
For the year, Koulechov sits second on the Owls in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per contest. He’s also averaging 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game to open the year.
At 6’5”, Koulechov brings size to the back court for the Owls. With his shooting ability, teams have to be aware of where he is on the court at all times. Between him and Evans, the Owls have a two-headed machine in the back court who are looking to lead the team to a Conference USA title.
After averaging a double-double over the last week, including a 35-point, 13-rebound performance to cap it all off, junior guard Egor Koulechov has been named the College Court Report Fan-Voted Player of the Week for the week of November 21-27!
– T. Bennett
Nov. 11-13, 2016: Alize Johnson (Missouri State Bears)
Nov. 14-20, 2016: Josh Robinson (Austin Peay Governors)