March 19, 2023 at 02:05
Marcus Sasser looked just fine, scoring 22 points, and top-seeded Houston stifled local favorite Auburn in the second half for an 81-64 victory in the NCAA Tournament Saturday night.
The Cougars (33-3) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit, returning after the break with a chip on their shoulders.
Led by Tramon Mark with 26 points, Houston advanced to face either No.
5 Miami, which play Sunday, in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, Missouri.
But Mark kept the Cougars right on rolling offensively, and the Jarace Walker-led defense just refused to let Auburn back in the game.
FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON'S EXPLICIT ABBREVIATION PUTS INTERNET IN FRENZY AFTER MARCH MADNESS UPSETHouston had 12 blocks, half of them swatted away by Walker.
Houston scored the final nine points to blow it open at the end, with Sasser delivering another key shot from beyond the 3-point stripe.
Auburn ripped off a 17-4 run over the final 5½ minutes of the first half.
Houston missed six of its last eight shots in the half, its only baskets coming on a pair of layups.
Houston: Sasser now has plenty of time to rest his groin, which should give him even more confidence he's not going to have any more problems.
UP NEXTHouston is heading to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last five years under Kelvin Sampson.
The Cougars have never won a national title, despite six appearances in the Final Four.