Houston, a No. 1 seed, advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating the Auburn Tigers 81-64 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Led by Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark, Houston played impressively on both ends of the court. Houston’s defense, particularly the blocks from Jarace Walker and J’Wan Roberts, was particularly noteworthy. The Cougars improved to 17-1 in road and neutral-site games this season, and they will now face either Indiana or Miami in the Sweet 16. Auburn ended an inconsistent season with a 21-13 record. Houston has yet to win a national title, despite six appearances in the Final Four, but their eyes are now on the prize. The program hopes to win their first national title this year, which will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Houston Advances to Sweet 16 with Win over Auburn in March Madness
Top-seeded Houston Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16 after beating the Auburn Tigers 81-64 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Houston was able to wipe out a 10-point halftime deficit, returning with a vengeance in the second half.
Marcus Sasser, who played nearly 31 minutes, scored 22 points despite dealing with a groin injury that forced him to sit out the second half of Houston’s NCAA opener. Sasser was determined to play through the pain in this game and only had to sit out briefly due to foul trouble.
Tramon Mark added a career-best 26 points, and the Cougars managed to stifle Auburn in the second half, shutting down the lane and essentially preventing the Tigers from making any field goals for more than 10 minutes.
Houston’s next opponent will either be No. 4 Indiana or No. 5 Miami, who play on Sunday. The Cougars have several days to rest before their Sweet 16 game, which will take place on Friday.
Auburn struggled mightily with their shooting, finishing just 4 of 24 from the field in the second half. They drew plenty of fouls but had difficulty converting them, going 19-of-36 at the line. The Tigers’ season ends with a 21-13 record.
Houston played with the desperation of a national championship contender, determined not to suffer the same fate as other No. 1 seeds like Purdue and Kansas, who were already sent home from the tournament. The Cougars are now one step closer to achieving that goal.
Houston Advances to Sweet 16, Beats Auburn in Front of Hostile Crowd
The Houston Cougars, led by Marcus Sasser’s 22 points and Tramon Mark’s career-best 26 points, advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating the Auburn Tigers 81-64 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Houston, a No. 1 seed, had to play what felt like a road game in Birmingham, Alabama, just a two-hour drive from Auburn’s campus, but the Cougars were up to the challenge.
Houston’s defense was particularly impressive, with 12 blocks in the game, including five from Jarace Walker and five from J’Wan Roberts. Coach Kelvin Sampson said that the biggest adjustment the team made was in their attitude, and it showed in their dominant second half performance.
The Cougars improved to 17-1 in road and neutral-site games this season, and they will now face either Indiana or Miami in the Sweet 16.
Auburn, meanwhile, ended an inconsistent season with a 21-13 record, winning only five of their last 15 games.
Houston’s eyes are now on the Final Four, which will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, the Cougars’ home turf. Despite six appearances in the Final Four, Houston has yet to win a national title, and they will be looking to change that this year.
AP March Madness coverage and bracket can be found at https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket.
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