January 30, 2020 / 2:35 AM / 22 days ago

No. 21 Houston continues dominance over East Carolina

EditorsNote: Changed Gardner’s rebound total to 19 in 2nd graf; Changed Hinton’s rebounds to nine in 4th graf; Added 2nd player fouling out in 5th graf

Jan 29, 2020; Greenville, North Carolina, USA; Houston Cougars guard Nate Hinton (11) takes ascot against East Carolina Pirates guard Tristen Newton (2) during the first half at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Mills had 18 points and six assists and Quentin Grimes added 15 points and six rebounds to lead No. 21 Houston to a 69-59 victory over East Carolina in an American Athletic Conference game Wednesday night at Greenville, N.C.

East Carolina’s Jayden Gardner had 29 points, 19 rebounds and three assists. Behind Gardner’s effort — he played all 40 minutes — the Pirates became the first team to not be outrebounded by the Cougars this season. Each team had 43 rebounds.

Houston (17-4, 7-1 AAC) has won five consecutive games and 11 of its last 12. The Cougars also increased their winning streak against East Carolina (9-12, 3-5) to nine games.

Chris Harris Jr. had 10 points and nine rebounds and Nate Hinton had nine rebounds for the Cougars. Houston had 40 points from their bench compared with eight by East Carolina’s reserves.

The foul-plagued game included two players foul out (Houston’s Brison Gresham and East Carolina’s JJ Miles) and five players with four fouls. A total of 49 fouls were called with 58 free throws attempted. Houston was 20 of 32 from the free-throw line and East Carolina was 17 of 26.

Gardner kept East Carolina in the game by halftime, scoring 16 points in the first half on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. His teammates shot a combined 2 of 19 in the half and the Pirates trailed 33-21.

Houston led by as many as 15 points early in the second half but East Carolina managed to cut the lead to 46-38 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Suggs with 12:01 left in regulation.

The Cougars responded with a 9-2 run to build a 55-40 lead with 9:26 remaining.

Houston kept a double-digit lead until East Carolina cut the lead to 68-59 with 49 seconds left on a free throw by Tristen Newton.

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