No. 5 Houston Upset by Unranked East Carolina; 8-Game Winning Streak SnappedFebruary 4, 2021
East Carolina handed No. 5 Houston only its second men's basketball loss of the season with a 82-73 upset Wednesday.
Jayden Gardner led the way for the Pirates (8-6) with 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, his seventh double-double of the season. The team also shot 11-of-24 from three-point range at home in Williams Arena, keying the first win over a Top 10 opponent in program history, per the ESPN broadcast.
ECU trailed by three at halftime but the defense picked up in the second half, allowing the hosts to build a double-digit lead with just over five minutes left. The Cougars couldn't keep up and never led over the final 19 minutes of the game.
Houston (15-2) entered the day with eight straight wins, the last six by double digits, but stumbled on the road against a team that had five straight losses to fall into last place in the American Athletic Conference.
Many criticized Houston after the shocking loss:
Matt Norlander @MattNorlander
Checking in here. Houston, a 16.5-pt fave, gets dumped by nine at East Carolina, which entered the day ranked 150th at KenPom. The Cougars look to bounce back on Saturday with a home tip against Our Lady of the Lake. There will be refreshments on the folding tables afterward.
East Carolina had struggled in all phases over the past few weeks but especially shooting, making just 13 three-pointers in the last three games. Its 31.9 percent three-point shooting this season ranked 245th in the country.
You wouldn't know it was the case Wednesday as the Pirates seemingly couldn't miss from deep. They shot 7-of-14 from three in the first half and kept it going throughout the night.
Tremont Robinson-White was especially impressive while making five of his six threes, while Bitumba Baruti and J.J. Miles were also valuable from the perimeter.
Things weren't as smooth for Quentin Grimes, Houston's leading scorer who shot just 2-of-10 from the field on his way to seven points.
DeJon Jarreau helped pick up the slack offensively with 25 points, his best scoring output since transferring to Houston three years ago. Marcus Sasser also had a strong showing (17 points) while Justin Gorham posted a double-double, but it wasn't enough to help the Top Five team get into the win column.
This loss could have lasting effects for a team with high expectations this year:
Houston is currently No. 4 in the NET rankings but has just three Quadrant 1 victories and now two losses outside of the first tier. The squad should get a chance to recover with a tuneup game against Our Lady of the Lake, an NAIA school in San Antonio, on Saturday.
For East Carolina, this win could potentially turn things around after some early struggles in the conference. The team will try to keep the momentum when it faces Memphis on Saturday.