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.