March 8, 2015
HOUSTON - University of Houston junior guard Jherrod Stiggers led all players with 17 points and four 3-pointers to lead the Cougars to a 72-54 win in the regular-season finale for both teams inside Hofheinz Pavilion on Sunday afternoon in a game presented by SignTex Imaging.
Junior forward Devonta Pollard continued his steady recent play with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for his team-leading seventh double-double of the season and his second double-double in the last three games.
Under head coach Kelvin Sampson - who was competing in the 800th game of his outstanding career - the Cougars rolled to their third straight win.
The Cougars proved to be steady shooters throughout the game, hitting at least 48 percent in each half and finishing at 50.0 percent (26-of-52) for the game.
East Carolina jumped out to a 6-3 lead early in the game, but an 11-3 Houston run erased that margin. The Pirates pulled to within 16-14 midway through the first half, but the Cougars scored the game's next seven points and never led by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, the Houston defense limited East Carolina to only 37.7 percent in the game, including 30.0 percent in the first half. The Cougars outrebounded the Pirates 39-24 with 15 boards off the offensive glass. Freshman forward and Yates High product JC Washington led the way for the Cougars with five offensive rebounds.
After the Cougars held a 35-24 advantage at halftime, East Carolina was never able to score more than five straight points before Houston answered with points of its own.
Stiggers, who recently took over point guard duties after a foot injury sidelined regular starter L.J. Rose for the rest of the season, hit 6-of-8 tried from the field, including 4-of-6 from the 3-point line. The Terrell, Texas, native also added three rebounds with an assist and a block.
He was part of a balanced offensive attack that saw four Cougars reach double-digit points. Pollard and junior guard LeRon Barnes each totaled 14 points, while freshman guard Wes VanBeck added 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers off the bench.
East Carolina guard Terry Whisnant finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting with three 3-pointers and was the only Pirate to reach double digits. Forward Michel Nzege led the way with six rebounds, while Antonio Robinson added a game-high six assists in the loss.
Prior to Sunday's game, the Cougars recognized three senior members of their team who were working their final game inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Senior forward Mikhail McLean, who competed in 101 games during his career before being sidelined with a foot injury and a 2013 UH graduate with plans to receive his master's degree this summer, and student manager Cason Broers and Mario Villegas were honored with their families.
Following Sunday's game, the Cougars head to Hartford, Conn., to compete at the American Athletic Conference Championship on Thursday inside the XL Center.
Competing as the No. 10 seed, the Cougars will face No. 7 seed Tulane at 5 p.m. (CDT), Thursday, in the First Round. Fans can hear Thursday's game on KPRC 950 AM with Matt Thomas calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show begins at 4:45 p.m., (CDT), Thursday.
Fans also can hear the radio broadcast online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links to Houston All-Access. A Houston All-Access subscription is required to listen to the game online.
Fans can watch Thursday's game live on ESPNews with additional broadcast information to follow.