GREENVILLE — East Carolina sophomore Jayden Gardner put forth a tremendous individual effort on Tuesday night in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, but it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to upset No. 21 Houston.
The Cougars took a 69-59 American Athletic Conference win as ECU cut into a 21-point deficit down the stretch.
Gardner finished with 29 points, 19 rebounds and three assists, but he was the only Pirate to make over half of his field goal attempts.
“We need to help him more,” said ECU coach Joe Dooley.
Gardner was 11 of 19 from the field but the Pirates were 19 of 58 as a team (32.8 percent). ECU made just four of 23 from beyond the arc.
Gardner was the only double-figure scorer for the Pirates, who slipped to 9-11 overall and 3-5 in the AAC. Tristen Newton and J.J. Miles each had eight points for ECU.
Houston (17-4, 7-1) was led by 18 points from Caleb Mills. Quentin Grimes had 15 points for Houston and Chris Harris Jr. added 10 points..
The Pirates are at Temple on Saturday for a 6 p.m. tipoff. The Owls are 10-10 overall and 2-6 in league play after a 78-63 loss at Connecticut on Wednesday night.