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Houston's Sasser starts at March Madness despite groin issue

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Marcus Sasser started for top-seeded Houston in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday after being forced to the bench in the previous game by a groin injury.

The All-America guard had declared a day earlier that his groin was fine and he was definitely playing in the second-round contest against No. 9 seed Auburn.

But it was surely a relief to Houston fans when Sasser was announced as a starter for the Cougars, who struggled to beat 16th-seeded Northern Kentucky 63-52 in their opening game Thursday.

Sasser injured his groin in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, forcing him to sit out the league championship game. The Cougars lost to Memphis with their best player watching from the bench.

Sasser started against Northern Kentucky but felt renewed pain on a jump shot in the first half. He didn't play at all after the break, finishing with five points.

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AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25