Houston edges Connecticut 70-68
HOUSTON (AP) Jherrod Stiggers scored 18 points, including two free throws with four seconds left that finally put it out of reach, and Houston beat Connecticut 70-68 on Sunday.
Connecticut's Ryan Boatright had 26 of his career-high 31 points in the last 7:51 of the game, including a 3 with two seconds left for the final margin. Five times his score brought UConn within three, but Houston replied every time.
Boatright's 3-pointer with 1:08 made it 64-61, but L.J. Rose answered with a layup to put it back to five. After Boatright's layup with four seconds left made it 68-65, he fouled Stiggers and the Houston guard made both for a five-point game again.
Houston (9-12, 1-8 American) led the entire game. Rose and Devonta Pollard finished with 12 points apiece and LeRon Barnes added 11 points.
Connecticut (11-9, 4-4) outrebounded the Cougars 51-35, but Houston committed just one turnover in the game.
Amida Brimah had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies.
The teams started slowly, and a pair of Danrad Knowles free throws put Houston up 19-11 with 5:29 left in the first half. Connecticut made three consecutive shots - the last a 3-pointer from Rodney Purvis - to cut it to 23-20 two minutes later.
Stiggers hit from 3, but Connecticut got jumpers by Kentan Facey and Brimah, and trailed 28-25 at the break.
Houston ran off six straight points to open the second half to push its lead to nine. The lead reached 15 with 11:17 left after a 3-pointer by Cavon Baker and dunk by Barnes.
The Cougars ran the lead to 13 with 8:11 left after another Knowles' jumper, but that's when Boatright warmed up - then took over - for UConn.
The senior guard started with a layup, then another, followed by a jumper and a pair from the line, which brought the deficit under double-digits. He then made a pair of 3-pointers, sandwiched around a jumper from Terrance Samuel, which made it a six-point game.
But Houston made all six of its free throws inside 1:18 and the Huskies - well, Boatright - ran out of time.
Connecticut: With the loss, the Huskies dropped two road games with week, falling in Cincinnati Thursday. UConn leads the all-time series 3-2. ... Boatright's five 3-pointers matched a career-high, as did his 11 attempts, which were both established in the loss to Cincinnati earlier in the week.
Houston: The Cougars lead all American Athletic schools in 3-pointers per game with 8.4 and finished 8 of 34 (23.5 percent). ... Houston registered its first conference win and has won back-to-back games, beating non-conference opponent Rice last Wednesday, which stopped an eight-game losing streak.
Connecticut hosts East Carolina on Wednesday.
Houston hosts Tulsa on Thursday.