Cougars Lose Heartbreaker To ECU

The short-handed Cougars couldn't hold onto a big lead

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Cougars Give Away 13-Point Lead, Lose To ECU

A short-handed Cougar team, playing with just seven players after Kirk Van Slyke (coach's decision) was left  back in Houston, gave away a 13-point lead to the East Carolina Pirates, losing by a score of 74-70.

The Cougars seemed to have the game easily in hand, but shot themselves in the foot with turnovers in the second half. They also sent East Carolina to the free throw line far too often, and the Pirates took advantage, shooting 28 of 34 from the line.

Maurice McNeil paced the Coogs with 18 points and 13 rebounds, but committed four turnovers.

The loss is Houston's third straight, as they fall to 3-4 in conference play.

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Can Coogs Stop The Bleeding Against Pirates?

Houston Cougars (9-8, 3-3 Conference USA) at East Carolina Pirates (8-9, 3-3 Conference USA)

Tip-off: 5:00 PM, 1/29

The Line: ECU by 6.5

Two games ago, the Cougars were tied for first place in conference play. On Saturday, they look up and find themselves losers of two straight dog fights against rivals UTEP and Rice, leaving them in the middle of the conference pack. The fight back to the top starts Saturday evening in Greenville, North Carolina.

The Cougars will again be looking to figure out a rotation at forward that works, something that has caused them trouble in the past couple games. The good news it that they will be facing a small-ish Pirate team, with just one player topping 6'6" among their top six contributors. Houston will need Maurice McNeil and Kendrick Washington to impose their wills inside to compliment the Coogs' three-point shooting.

Houston's three-point defense, which has been quite good this year, will be under fire against a Pirate team that attempted nearly 21 shots from beyond the arc per game this year. ECU is led by senior guard Jontae Sherrod's 46 treys, and 14.9 points per game.

Both teams have been turnover-prone this year, so look for a big edge to whichever team can rein those in today.

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