HOUSTON (AP) — Houston had one of its best offensive nights of the season. Coach Kelvin Sampson was more impressed with his team’s intensity and defense.
Armoni Brooks scored 17 points, Corey Davis Jr. added 12 and No. 17 Houston hit 16 3-pointers while beating East Carolina 94-50 on Wednesday.
Brooks and Davis combined to hit nine 3-pointers while the Cougars (19-1, 6-1 American Athletic Conference) finished 16 of 24 from behind the arc.
“We shot the ball well tonight, but look at who was shooting them,” Sampson said. “Armoni Brooks is an outstanding shooter. Corey is an outstanding shooter. I thought Corey and Armoni and (Galen Robinson Jr.’s) defense and attention to detail tonight was outstanding.”
The Cougars entered the game second in the nation in field goal percentage defense, third in 3-point field goal percentage defense and eighth in scoring defense. They held the Pirates to 32 percent shooting and 2 of 22 on 3-pointers.
“We are a good defensive team,” Sampson said.
Nate Hinton had 13 points, Cedrick Alley scored 12 and Fabian White Jr. had 11.
Houston, which won its fourth straight, shot 52 percent from the field while extending its home winning streak to 30 games.
“We are all extremely confident in one another,” Brooks said.
Seth Leday had 12 points and Isaac Fleming added 11 for ECU (8-10, 1-5). Jayden Gardner, who came into the game leading the American in scoring with 19.8 points per game, finished with eight points for the Pirates. ECU has lost four straight.
“They’re hard to beat when they don’t shoot the ball well, and when they shoot it like that, it’s just a double-edged sword,” ECU coach Joe Dooley said.
After Fleming’s layup with 8 ½ minutes left cut Houston’s lead to 21-15, the Cougars went on a 26-9 run over the next eight minutes to take a 47-24 lead on Robinson’s 3-pointer with 1 ½ minutes left in the half. Houston made six straight 3-pointers during the run.
The Cougars led 49-26 at the half.
East Carolina: The Pirates struggled to find scoring as Houston did well defending Gardner. The Pirates took care of the ball, committing 10 turnovers and held a 24-18 advantage in points in the paint. “I thought they did a good job (guarding Gardner),” Dooley said. “I thought they pressured us, and they also gapped us. It shortens the court when you don’t make any shots, and we didn’t make any three-point shots.”
Houston: The Cougars never trailed. They opened 2 of 9 from the field before catching fire and finishing the first half 15 of 22. Houston played well on both ends and was able to keep ECU off the glass, holding a 47-25 advantage. The Cougars continued to pass the ball well, finishing with 21 assists on 29 made field goals.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Robinson surpassed 500 assists for his career at Houston, becoming the sixth Cougar to accomplish the feat. Robinson finished with eight.
OLAJUWON IN ATTENDANCE
NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who played a key role in Houston’s run of three straight NCAA Final Four appearances from 1982-84, sat courtside.
ECU called three timeouts in the first 13 minutes.. ECU used its final timeout two minutes into the second half.