COUGARS REPORT

Houston falls to No. 8 after a tough loss to ECU

Kelvin Sampson took the loss personally. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

With football coming to an end, basketball is now on the minds of most fans. With conference tournaments and March Madness approaching, Houston is gearing up for a deep run. However, they hit a speed bump in Greenville, North Carolina Wednesday night.

Houston moved to No. 5 in the AP Top 25, marking their second time there this season. This is also the program's highest ranking since the 1983-84 season. But it was a short-lived stint in the top 5 as East Carolina University pulled off the upset against the heavily favored Cougars.

Houston had their worst defensive performance as the Pirates scored 82 points in their victory. This is the largest amount of points this Cougar team has given up this season.

Their loss can be attributed to poor performances on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Sure they scored 73 points and DeJon Jarreau matched his career high with 25 points to lead the Cougars and Marcus Sasser added 17 points, but they couldn't seem to get anyone else rolling offensively.

Quentin Grimes had 7 points his 2nd lowest scoring output of the season and second consecutive game in which he scored less than 10 points.

Justin Gorham extended his rebounding streak to 9 consecutive games with 10 or more rebounds, but was limited offensively.

No other Cougar scored more than six points and their bench was nonexistent.

Before this game, East Carolina had lost five straight contests. The Pirates were also without starter Brandon Suggs due to injury and lost reserve guard Tyrie Jackson during the game to an apparent leg injury.

Houston didn't get many stops and made just 8 of 31 shots after halftime.

Kelvin Sampson took the loss personally and blamed himself for their poor performance.

"At the end of the day, you know what it is?" Sampson said. "It comes down to the coach, man. The coach has got to do a better job of getting his team ready to play."

The Cougars' nine game win streak against the Pirates came to an end and East Carolina snapped a 33 game losing streak against AP Top 25 teams.

Houston needed a bounce back game and were able to schedule NAIA school Our Lady of the Lake last minute.

It was not a close contest by any means and not a single starter played for the Cougars.

Cameron Tyson was the leading scorer with 32 points. Tramon Mark and Jamal Shead each scored 22 and 20 points respectively.

It was a game Houston needed to build some confidence on their way to a third straight AAC title and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

UP NEXT: The Cougars travel to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida Bulls.

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