Stiggers leads Houston past East Carolina 72-54

HOUSTON (AP) Jherrod Stiggers scored 17 points and Devonta Pollard added 14 with 11 rebounds on Sunday as Houston defeated East Carolina 72-54.

LeRon Barnes also had 14 and Wes VanBeck 10 for the Cougars (12-18, 4-14 American), who take a three-game winning streak to the conference tournament in Hartford, Connecticut next week.

The game was the 800th of UH coach Kelvin Sampson’s career with his record in 26 season standing at 511-288.

Terry Whisnant led East Carolina (13-18, 6-12) with 13 points.

Houston shot 52 percent in the first half to open a 35-24 lead. With Stiggers scoring 14 of his points in the second half the Cougars steadily pulled way, leading by 21 late.

The Cougars are the 10-seed and face seventh-seeded Tulane on Thursday after eighth-seeded East Carolina meets No. 9 seed Central Florida. The other opening round game is defending national champion UConn, the sixth seed, facing No. 11 South Florida.