PREVIEW: No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball travels to East Carolina to face off against Pirates

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kevin M Cox/AP/Shutterstock (13779320o) Houston forward Jarace Walker, right, shoots against Tulane forward Tylan Pope during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Houston Tulane Basketball, Houston, United States – 22 Feb 2023

PREVIEW: No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball travels to East Carolina to face off against Pirates

No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball is heading east to Greenville, North Carolina, as it takes on East Carolina on Saturday night.

With a win, Houston (26-2, 14-1 American Athletic) would secure lone possession of the conference regular season championship. The Cougars clinched at least a share of the title with their win over Tulane on Wednesday.

East Carolina (14-13, 5-9 AAC) enters the game coming off a victory against Tulsa on Tuesday. The Pirates are led by sophomore guard RJ Felton, who is averaging 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

ECU has been without its lead guard, sophomore Javon Small, for the past few weeks after he suffered a knee injury. He had been averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per contest.

Junior guard Jaden Walker is second on the team for ECU when it comes to assists, averaging 2.7 per matchup. The Pirates are led by sophomore forward Brandon Johnson on the boards. He is averaging 8.3 rebounds per outing.

The Pirates are ranked 211 in the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, rankings. ECU is 9-5 at home this season. The Pirates are 0-1 in Quad One games heading into Saturday’s matchup.

ECU had a brutal stretch in January, losing five straight games to begin the month. The Pirates started conference play 2-8 in the AAC. Since then, they have won three of their last four conference games, including a victory over Cincinnati.

Saturday’s game between Houston and ECU will tipoff at 7 p.m. CT and air on ESPN2. The contest will also be able to be heard on KPRC 950 AM radio. It will be the only regular season meeting between the two teams.

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