No. 10 Houston bids for 9th straight win, hosts E. Carolina
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Houston looks to remain unbeaten in American Athletic Conference play and remain at the top of the league standings when it hosts East Carolina on Saturday night.
The 10th-ranked Cougars (16-2, 5-0 AAC) are seeking their ninth consecutive victory following a 74-55 win over South Florida at home on Tuesday.
The Pirates (11-6, 2-3) have lost three of their past four games and are coming off a 92-85 overtime loss at home to UCF on Tuesday night.
Kyler Edwards collected 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Cougars to the comfortable victory over the Bulls. The Cougars won their 35th consecutive home game, which is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind only Gonzaga and Liberty.
Josh Carlton also had another strong performance against USF. He answered a 30-point, 11-rebound effort in an 83-66 win over the Bulls on Jan. 5 with a 15-point, five-rebound game on Tuesday.
"For these guys, after everything they've been through, to be sitting here at 5-0 and 16-2 is pretty remarkable to me," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "How long is it going to last? I don't know. Everybody's going to lose. We just got to continue playing good and get ready for the next one."
Edwards has had the hot hand of late, following up a 29-point performance against Tulsa by burying six 3-pointers against USF. Edwards is averaging 13.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, and he is shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range.
"I feel like I'm in a good rhythm, but I also give credit to my teammates because they are always looking for me," Edwards said. "They know where I'm at at all times, so I just give credit to them and how they look for me."
East Carolina will open a back-to-back set of road games with Saturday's contest against Houston. The Pirates will visit Memphis on Thursday.
Tristen Newton scored 27 points to lead the Pirates in what was a disappointing overtime defeat at home against UCF. East Carolina led until 24 seconds were left in regulation, when the Knights tied the game on Darius Perry's 3-pointer. Alanzo Frink scored 16 points and RJ Felton Jr. had 14.
"We were up 66-50 with (10 1/2) minutes left," East Carolina coach Joe Dooley said. "You've got to be able to sustain that. RJ had a good game. We plugged him in there. We were a little short on the perimeter. But that's part of it. We've got to guard. You can't give up that many points in the second half in your building."
Even more deflating was Brandon Suggs' exit from the game with an ankle injury. Suggs, who is averaging 10.1 points and 4.1 rebounds, had seven points, five boards, five assists and no turnovers through 21 minutes to that point.
"Suggs is a big part of the team," Newton said. "I see his plus/minus was 15, so we were up 15 when he was in there. Losing him was tough for our team. I don't know how bad the injury is, so hopefully we have him back whenever we play Houston."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 21, 2022