HOUSTON - The University of Houston Men’s Basketball program used a 35-4 run early in the game and erupted for 62 first-half points on the way to a 109-58 win over ECU on Sunday inside H&PE Arena in a game presented by Maintenance Supply Headquarters.
With Sunday’s win, the Cougars improved to 22-6 overall under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, 12-4 in American Athletic Conference play and clinched a First-Round bye at The American Championship, scheduled for March 8-11 inside the Amway Center in Orlando.
The Cougars scored the game’s first points on a jumper from senior forward Devin Davis but fell behind following Isaac Fleming’s 3-pointer with 17:23 remaining in the first half. However, that would be as close as ECU would get for the rest of the way.
Houston scored the game’s next eight points to take the lead for good and eventually built a 37-7 lead when junior forward Breaon Brady banked in a layup at the halfway mark of the first half.
The Cougars added 25 more points in the final 10 minutes of the opening period and held a 62-13 advantage at the break. It was the most points scored in a half since the Cougars scored 62 points in the second half in a 131-62 win over Florida Tech on Nov. 22, 2005.
Houston connected on 74.2 percent (23-of-31) in the first half, including 12-of-16 from the 3-point line, and finished at 66.7 percent (42-of-63) in the game, the sixth-best shooting performance in school history. The Cougars eventually built as much as a 62-point lead late in the second half.
With 18 3-pointers on 27 attempts, the Cougars equaled their own American Athletic Conference record first set against Tulsa in a 104-71 win on Jan. 11 and fell only one trey shy of tying the school record, set in the same win against Florida Tech.
The 66.7 3-point shooting percentage in Sunday’s win tied for the fourth-best mark in Houston single-game history.
On the defensive side, the Cougars outrebounded ECU 46-17 and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds while limiting the Pirates to 37.3 percent in the game, including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) in the first half. It was the 24th time in 28 games in which the Cougars outrebounded their opponents.
The Cougars featured a lineup filled with offensive stars Sunday. Senior guard Rob Gray finished with 19 points and 11 assists with four rebounds and a game-high three steals in only 22 minutes of action. Gray recorded the first double-double of his career and became the fourth Cougar to enjoy a double-double in 2017-18, joining Devin Davis, freshman forward Fabian White Jr., and sophomore guard Armoni Brooks.
Gray also became the first Cougar to record a points-assists double-double since guard L.J. Rose finished with 16 points and 11 assists at UCF on March 7, 2014.
Brooks came off the bench to lead the Cougars with 21 points off a career-high-tying seven 3-pointers on only nine attempts. It was the second time this season Brooks drained seven 3-pointers in a game,
Junior guard Corey Davis Jr. added 16 points with six rebounds and seven assists, while junior guard Gabe Grant drained all four of his 3-point attempts for a career high 12 points in only 11 minutes.
White scored nine points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in the win, while junior point guard Galen Robinson Jr. posted seven points with six rebounds and seven assists. With his total from Sunday, Robinson now has 101 assists this season and became only the seventh player in Houston history with three 100+ assists seasons during his career.
Robinson joined Derrick Daniels (4 times, 1998-92); Alvin Franklin (3 times, 1982-86); Reid Gettys (3 times, 1981-85); Ken Ciolli (3 times, 1975-79), Lanny Smith (3 times, 2003-08) and Rob Williams (3 times, 1979-82).
ECU guard B.J. Tyson led the Pirates with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting and added a team-high five assists. Guard Shawn Williams added 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting with Isaac Fleming finishing with 13 points and a team-high six rebounds.
• Following Sunday’s game, Houston closes out its regular-season road schedule when it takes on SMU at 8 p.m., Wednesday, inside Moody Coliseum in Dallas... Game will be shown on ESPN2 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.
• From there, the Cougars will wrap up the regular season when they celebrate Senior Day against UConn at 3 p.m., March 4, inside H&PE Arena... Seniors Nura Zanna, Wes VanBeck, Devin Davis and Rob Gray will be recognized in pregame ceremonies... Game will be shown on CBS Sports Network and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.
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