Marcus Sasser injured for No. 1 Houston in AAC tournament semis

FORT WORTH, Texas — When Marcus Sasser’s foot fell awkwardly on the court after slipping out from under him while dribbling past midcourt, Houston coach Calvin Sampson knew exactly what happened. Something was wrong even without.

“If Marcus goes down, it means he’s injured,” Sampson said. “We always say pain is an opinion. Some kids have high opinions. Some kids have low opinions. But Marcus doesn’t go down. He never skips a practice, never skips a rep. He’s always there Is.”

American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Sasser suffered an apparent groin injury with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half of the top-ranked Cougars’ 69-48 victory over Cincinnati in their AAC Tournament semifinal game on Saturday .

Houston (31-2), which led throughout, was up eight when Sasser suffered an injury that extended the lead to 15.

Sampson said Sasser would be reevaluated, but indicated the senior guard would not play when the two-time regular-season champion Cougars attempt to win their third consecutive AAC tournament title.

“That’s how important next week is, so I would probably make a mistake leaving him out,” Sampson said. “But the most important thing is Marcus … his healthy moving forward is the most important thing here.”

Jamal Shedd had 16 points and nine assists for the Cougars in the AAC semifinals, matching the two teams going to the Big 12 the following season. Ja’Vaun Roberts had two second chances in the first minute of the game to put Houston ahead to stay. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Jarius Walker had 13 points.

Roberts said, “Just knowing that Marcus comes out of the game and we still have teammates we know come off the bench and come in with the same energy, it says a lot about our team.” shows something.” “It just shows that everyone has each other’s backs and never turns away from what we’re doing, just sticks together.”

When the NCAA Tournament bracket comes out on Sunday, Houston is a sure bet to be the No. 1 seed, no matter its fifth straight AAC Tournament championship game.

Landers Noli II had 14 points for Cincinnati (21–12), shooting a season-worst 25.5% (13 of 51) from the field.

After the Cougars scored 30 points on Friday, Sasser had four points in nine minutes against Cincinnati before suffering a non-contact injury. He was dribbling between the conference logo and the 3-point line when his right foot appeared to slip, unbalancing him before his left foot also slipped, causing an awkward split.

Sasser was a starter on the Cougars’ 2021 Final Four team, but missed last year’s NCAA Elite Eight before Christmas after breaking a bone in his left foot. He did not talk to the media after the match.

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