HOUSTON - The loudest noise inside tiny Tudor Fieldhouse on Wednesday was probably a whistle.
That, and the excited cheers of more than 500 Arizona basketball fans, who watched the Wildcats tear apart Rice 84-57 despite a low-key atmosphere and an avalanche of foul calls.
The Pac-10 officiating crew whistled the Wildcats for 26 fouls, five of them serving to cut short Derrick Williams' double-double, but that hardly mattered in the end.
What did was that the Wildcats (6-1) quickly removed themselves from the sting of their 87-79 loss to Kansas on Saturday by going on a 17-2 run in the first half and never letting the Owls (3-4) back in the game.
"We got out that nasty taste in our mouth that we had against Kansas," UA guard MoMo Jones said. "That's what tough teams do. This was our first road game and we were just trying to send a statement."
Arizona led 37-21 at halftime and by up to 28 points late in the second half, coasting so easily down the stretch that UA coach Sean Miller was able to give reserve guard Dondre Wise a chance to log a couple of minutes in his hometown.
"We had only three players who weren't scared to play Arizona," said Rice forward Arsalan Kazemi, who led the Owls with 17 points and six rebounds. "That was the main reason we lost this game by 30 points. We can't go out there scared. … There was something wrong."
It could have been Rice's rigorous final exams coming up next week - Rice coach Ben Braun said "this is a tough time at Rice" - or it could have been the fact that Rice's fans were nearly outnumbered in their own arena, and Wildcat fans certainly made more noise.
This was particularly sweet for the Wildcats, who appeared a little miffed that Kansas had more than three times as many fans as they did last weekend in Las Vegas.
At one point, Williams, who rained his usual display of dunks and jumpers while going 7 for 8 from the field, even offered a salute to the fans. His teammates also appeared to be having plenty of fun as well.
"That's just our team, our chemistry and personality," Williams said. "We all have fun playing with each other."
Part of that included getting the ball to senior Jamelle Horne, who nailed 4 of 7 three-pointers and scored 15 points. Three of his three-pointers were from the corners and one was from the top of the key; all were good looks.
Overall, Arizona tied its season-high for three-pointers with 11, on 26 attempts.
"Rice played a matchup zone, the ball moved around and Jamelle took advantage," Miller said. "I really thought the shots he took were open and they were a function of his teammates doing a really good job and finding him with the ball.
"I'd like to see him rebound the ball better (Horne had only one) - I don't want to get in that habit where he's just a perimeter player for us. But what made us successful tonight was being able to shoot the ball well, 11 threes and I thought most of the threes were good ones."
With three assists to go along with his 11 points and four rebounds, Jones had possibly his best overall game since taking over the starting point guard position this season. And Williams packed in his second double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) of the season well before he fouled out with 5:50 to go.
Williams' troubles were symptomatic of a team that was called for 11 more fouls than the Owls, the second straight game in which Arizona had more fouls than its opponent.
"Coach told us not to comment on that," Williams said. "It was kind of questionable, that's all I'll say about that."
Miller appeared visibly upset about several calls during the game but looked inward for the blame afterward.
"Just generally we haven't done a very good job of getting our team to take the charge," Miller said. "There were a number of opportunities in this game where you have to be physical, step across and take the charge. It slows drives down, it's a turnover and protects you from fouling. But we're leaving our feet a little bit, we're more undisciplined than we need to be, and I think some of Derrick's (fouls) reflect that.
"Usually it's not what we do. When you look at (UA's) 14 attempts at the line versus 29 for them it was probably a reflection of the way Rice played defense and the way we played defense. But we don't want to foul that much, that's for sure."
The good news for UA was that its aggressiveness helped keep Rice to 37.5-percent shooting and led to a 36-25 rebounding advantage.
All this against a team that lost by only three points at Texas last weekend.
"We were very worried," Miller said. "Maybe we caught them a little flat coming off a heartbreaking loss but I was very excited about our team's ability to win, especially by that margin."
• What: Oklahoma at Arizona
• When: 2 p.m. Sunday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)