Marcus Sasser seems to worsen groin harm (0:19)
Marcus Sasser comes off the court docket in some ache with an aggravated groin. (0:19)
Mar 17, 2023
Alex ScarboroughESPN Workers Author
- Covers the SEC.
- Joined ESPN in 2012.
- Graduate of Auburn College.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, recent off a more in-depth than anticipated win over No. 16 seed Northern Kentucky throughout the first spherical of the NCAA match on Thursday evening, defended the choice to play star guard Marcus Sasser, who just lately suffered a groin harm.
Sasser — the American Convention Participant of the Yr, All-American and among the best scorers in faculty basketball — injured his groin throughout the convention match lower than per week in the past. He began in opposition to Northern Kentucky however performed solely 14 minutes earlier than aggravating the harm, limping to the bench and being pulled from the sport.
Houston struggled to tug away from Northern Kentucky and in the end held on to win 63-52 to advance within the match.
Sasser advised reporters after the sport that there was “positively” a possibility for him to play in opposition to No. 9 seed Auburn on Saturday.
Sampson mentioned that Sasser, who didn’t play in Houston’s sport on Sunday, did not take part in follow till Wednesday. Sampson mentioned he did not know Sasser would play till Thursday morning and that he would have been effective had Sasser chosen to sit down out.
“I have been with Marcus for 4 years,” he mentioned. “I belief Marcus and I belief our coach. I go away these selections as much as them. Marcus is aware of his physique higher than anybody on this room, together with me.
“So I’d have been effective if Marcus had determined to not play tonight, however he needed to offer it a attempt as a result of he thought he was at a excessive sufficient proportion out of 100 that he might go.”
Sampson believed his staff was deflated when Sasser was sidelined within the second half. With out him — and with out a totally wholesome roster high to backside — Sampson mentioned Houston is not No. 1 seed materials.
“We do not have one other Marcus Sasser,” he mentioned. “However all people has to remain of their lane.”
Jamal Shead, certainly one of 4 Houston gamers who averaged greater than 10 factors per sport this season, hyperextended his knee in Thursday evening’s win. He advised reporters he expects to play on Saturday.
Auburn will take pleasure in a good crowd being solely 100 miles from campus, however Sampson downplayed the benefit.
“We acquired to go see what number of wholesome our bodies we have now proper now,” he mentioned. “That is most likely our most necessary factor.”
Sampson as a substitute turned the main focus to the sturdy play of Northern Kentucky, which saved the sport shut all through.
“I do not coach Northern Kentucky, however I used to be pleased with their staff tonight,” he mentioned. “They fought. They’re well-coached.”
Sampson cited the Norse scoring 21 factors on second-chance alternatives.
“They have been more durable than we have been tonight,” he mentioned. “And that is not simple for me to say.”