The Houston Cougars survive Jayden Gardner's 29-point double-double in win over ECU.

Cougars extend winning streak to five in victory over the Pirates

Coming off an assist by big man Charles Coleman, sophomore forward Jayden Gardner made an uncontested layup to inaugurate the game. Gardner's basket was the first of 11 made field goals as the North Carolina native scored a game-high 29 points, to go along with 19 rebounds in 40 minutes of action.

Despite his great performance, Gardner could not lead his team to a victory, as the Houston Cougars took a 69-59 win over the East Carolina Pirates Wednesday night inside the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC. While improving their winning streak to five, Houston (17-4, 7-1 American Athletic Conference) has now won 11 of their last 12 games.

Outside of giving up nearly 30 points to Gardner, the Cougars had a solid performance on the defensive end as no other player scored in double-figures for the Pirates. Houston held ECU to 32.8% shooting from the field, and an unpleasant 17.4% from behind the arc.

Unlike the Pirates, the Cougars, who are currently ranked No. 21 in the nation, had three players who scored in double-digits. Freshman guard Caleb Mills scored a team-high 18 points (7-18 FG, 3-6 3PT), while sophomore Quentin Grimes enjoyed his first game scoring over 10 points since Christmas Day — as the Woodlands native registered 15 points and six rebounds in the win.

With the Pirates trailing by one, the Cougars took full control of this game in the final four minutes of the first half. Following a made 3-point field goal by Grimes, Houston closed out the first period on a 13-1 run to take a 33-21 lead into the half.

For the second time this season, Chris Harris Jr. provided Houston with a great presence in the middle, with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Up next, the Cougars will travel to Cincinnati on Saturday to take on the 13-7, 6-2 Cincinnati Bearcats. Tip-off is slated for 5 P.M. CT.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome