KRYSTEN PEEK: The number one seed in the Midwest survives and advances after taking down number nine Auburn 81 to 64 in Birmingham, Alabama and what felt like a home game for Bruce Pearl's squad. Houston raised a 10 point Auburn lead at the half and outscored Auburn 50 to 23 in the second half with Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead being forced to sit significant minutes with foul trouble.
It was the defensive presence of freshman forward Jarace Walker who disrupted the inside game of the Tigers recording six blocks and setting a new tournament record for the Houston Cougars. J'wan Roberts is right behind Walker with five blocks leading with defensive stops that turned into easy offense. Junior wing Tramon Mark led all players in points and posted a career high 26 points in the win.
Coming into this game against Auburn, Houston was dealing with a couple of injuries from their star backcourt with Sasser still dealing with a groin injury and Shead playing through a minor knee injury. Both were productive offensively, particularly Sasser, who hit five 3s and finished with 22 points. The Cougars are now halfway to a hometown crowd and the Final Four in Houston as they head to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive time.
And for continual coverage on the NCAA tournament and all college basketball news, keep it right here on Yahoo Sports.