No. 1 Houston humbles ECU to win AAC straight-out

GREENVILLE. N.C.– Kelvin Sampson had no interest in breaking down the ins and outs of top-ranked Houston’s first-half lockdown on East Carolina.Not when compared to having another American Athletic Conference regular-season title in hand. “I’m happy for our kids to be rewarded with winning a championship game,”Sampson said after Saturday night’s 76-57 win at East Carolina to clinch straight-out ownership of the league’s regular-season title.”That’s hard to do.”Marcus Sasser scored 22 indicate lead the Cougars(27-2, 15-1), who have won a minimum of a share of the crown 4 times in 5 seasons. This time, it comes with the Cougars charging towards March with an ideal roadway record. “Our kids know how to win– I say that a lot,”Sampson said.” But we have actually found out how to play our system

, be unselfish.” Editor’s Picks To his point, Sasser got a lot of assistance from Tramon Mark(20 points)and J’Wan Roberts(17 points, 12 rebounds)in Houston’s ninth straight victory.And just like

the long-running formula under Sampson, the Cougars didn’t need a huge offensive performance to assert control of this one while leaning on defense and rebounding.By halftime

, the Cougars had actually blocked more shots (five)than the Pirates had even made (three )and led by 17. ECU ended up the game shooting 32 %, including 52% after halftime while routing huge, and

Houston claimed a 48-28 rebounding advantage that included 17 offending rebounds and 19 second-chance points.The Cougars had at least one bit of drama, however, as a quick injury exit for Sasser put a scare into the team.Averaging a team-best 16.9 points, Sasser got off to a fast start prior to having to leave after rolling his right ankle, which took place as he ran into ECU screener Brandon Johnson far from the ball. Sasser had to be helped off the court and taken to the locker room, though he returned minutes later on to make it a quick absence for the group’s leading scorer.”I was simply pleased he was good,”Mark said.East Carolina (14-14, 5-10 )had an energetic house crowd for the first-ever visit from a No. 1-ranked team to Minges Coliseum, along with the program’s first game against a top-ranked challenger in more than 31 years. However the Cougars never ever tracked and

led for all but 56 seconds.” The environment [fans] had in there, they provided at the highest level– the students, this neighborhood, Greenville, “first-year ECU coach Michael Schwartz stated.”It was electrical therein. They provided. Regrettably, we weren’t able to provide the same back to them.”Ezra Ausar scored 15 points to lead the Pirates, who got as close as 50-35 after halftime on Jaden Walker’s 3-pointer at the 11:37 mark. It was the very first of three times ECU pulled within 15– yet Houston responded to immediately each time to keep the Pirates from sustaining any real momentum.The Associated Press added to this report


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