HOUSTON - University of Connecticut senior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) tallied a career-high 31 points in a losing effort for UConn, which fell to Houston, 70-68, on the road at Hofheinz Pavilion on Sunday. The Huskies dropped to 11-8 overall and 4-4 in American Athletic play with the result.
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 Jherrod Stiggers and the Houston guard made both for a five-point game again. Stiggers finished with 18 points.
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 outrebounded the Cougars 51-35, but Houston committed just one turnover in the game.
Sophomore center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana) 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 redshirt sophomore guard Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.) - to cut it to 23-20 two minutes later.
Stiggers hit from 3, but Connecticut got jumpers by sophomore forward Kentan Facey (Trelawny, Jamaica) 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.
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