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No. 1 Houston clinches AAC by pummeling East Carolina

Feb 25, 2023; Greenville, North Carolina, USA;  Houston Cougars forward J'Wan Roberts (13) drives against East Carolina Pirates forward Ezra Ausar (2) during the first half at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Sasser scored 22 points and top-ranked Houston stretched its winning streak to nine by cruising to a 76-57 victory over East Carolina on Saturday night in the American Athletic Conference matchup in Greenville, N.C.

Tramon Mark added 20 points and nine rebounds as the Cougars (27-2, 15-1) wrapped up the AAC regular-season title. J’Wan Roberts added 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots for Houston.

Ezra Ausar had 15 points and eight rebounds, and RJ Felton scored 13 points for the Pirates (14-14, 5-10). Brandon Johnson added 12 points for East Carolina, which has dropped 11 of its past 12 meetings with Houston.

The Cougars shot 43.9 percent from the field, including 6 of 18 from 3-point range. Houston held a commanding 48-28 rebounding advantage and a 40-14 edge in points in the paint while improving to 10-0 in true road games.

The Pirates made just 32 percent of their shots and were 8 of 22 from behind the arc.

The Cougars led 36-19 at the break after holding East Carolina to 12 percent (3 of 25) from the field. Houston was just 12 of 35 (34.3 percent).

Houston scored the first seven points of the game and later led 27-12 after Sasser was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and made each of the free throws with 7:46 left in the half.

Mark drained a 3-pointer to push the lead to 20 at 34-14 with 4:01 remaining.

Sasser scored 13 points in the first half.

Johnson hit a 3-pointer for the Pirates to start the second half before the Cougars rattled off nine straight points. Mark capped the run with a basket to make it 45-22 with 16:18 left in the contest.

A short time later, the Pirates went on a 10-2 run and moved within 50-35 on a 3-pointer by Jaden Walker with 11:37 remaining.

Houston restored order quickly and the lead was back to 71-47 after Roberts scored on a putback with 4:29 left.

–Field Level Media

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