The Houston Cougars dropped their final road game of the regular season in a loss to the UConn Huskies.

Cougars fall short in loss to the Huskies

Kelvin Sampson. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The No. 21 Houston Cougars held a seven-point lead over the UConn Huskies at the half but was unable to carry their momentum over to the final 20 minutes. UConn outscored Houston 47-34 in the second half en route to a 77-71 victory over the Cougars, Thursday night, inside the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Mansfield, Connecticut.

In the loss, the Cougars dropped their final road game of the regular season, as they fell to 12-5 (22-8 overall) in conference play.

While falling into a tie for second place in the American Athletic Conference, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes led the way for the Cougars with 24 points (9-22 FG, 4-9 3PT) and six rebounds in the loss.

Houston came out the gates firing on all cylinders, as the Cougars opened the game on a 5-0 run before missing 10 consecutive shots from the field. UConn took full advantage of the Cougars' early struggles scoring 16 points unanswered en route to an early 11-point lead.

Despite a slow start, Houston battled back from their early deficit following a made 3-point field by Caleb Mills, as the Cougars held a 37-30 lead heading into the halftime break.

Although the Cougars closed out the first half on a hot streak, the Huskies went on a 15-2 run to take full control of the game. UConn shot 57.6% from the floor during the second half, as senior guard Christian Vital led the Huskies with 26 points (8-14) in his final home game of his college career.

In the loss, Caleb Mills recorded 20 points (6-15 FG, 2-4 3PT), while Nate Hinton added in 11 to go along with five rebounds and two steals.

In their final attempt to wrap up the top seed in the AAC, the Cougars will look to return to their winning ways on Sunday, when Houston takes on the 21-9, 10-7 Memphis Tigers. Tip-off is slated for 11 a.m. CT inside the Fertitta Center in Houston.

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In a statement released on Twitter, the NCAA announced on Thursday the cancellation of both the Men's and Women's College Basketball Tournament due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the basketball tournament, the NCAA has also canceled all remaining winter and spring championship events.

Ahead of the NCAA's decision, conference tournaments came to a halt Thursday morning, starting with Commissioner Mike Aresco — who canceled the American Athletic Conference tournament set to take place in Fort Worth. After making their return back to Houston, Cougars' head coach Kelvin Sampson said Aresco made the right decision.

"I really don't know how to react to this," Sampson said. "It's such a fluid situation. When something like this comes about, I think we are doing it the right way. The students that just got off the bus are my responsibility, and I am more concerned about their health then preparing for a basketball game."

Nearly all sporting events and leagues have already taken this action, starting with the NBA, following the news that the Utah Jazz's All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus Wednesday night. For the NCAA, NBA, and all other sports league, this was an inevitable decision to ensure safety for its athletes, coaches, and fans.

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