Kentucky will look to continue its mastery of Auburn on Saturday inside Rupp Arena, where the Wildcats have beaten the Tigers 19 straight times in Lexington, Ky.
The Wildcats are 50-2 all-time at home against Auburn and haven’t lost to the Tigers at home since Jan. 9, 1988. Each team enters a pivotal game looking to bolster its NCAA Tournament profile.
Kentucky (19-9, 10-5 SEC) is coming off an 82-74 win at Florida on Wednesday, the Wildcats’ third straight win after consecutive losses to unranked Arkansas and Georgia. After Florida trimmed Kentucky’s 11-point second-half lead to 74-72 with 1:12 left, the Wildcats countered with 6-0 run over the next 56 seconds to secure the win.
Auburn (19-9, 9-6) won for just the second time in six games Wednesday with a 78-74 homecourt win over Ole Miss.
After Ole Miss took a 63-59 edge with 6:21 left, Auburn went on a decisive 11-1 run to take a 70-64 advantage it wouldn’t relinquish following Wendell Green Jr.’s reverse layup with 3:38 to play.
“We needed that,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “Our players stepped up and that was great to see. We need more from our bench. You win games at the end by getting stops and going to the foul line, that’s how you win games.”
The Tigers shot 22-of-24 from the free-throw line.
Green, who averages 13.9 points and a team-high 4.3 assists, finished with 23 points and went 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. Johni Broome, who averages a team-high 14.1 and 8.9 rebounds, had 19 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and three assists for the Tigers.
Jaylin Williams chipped in 12 points, while Allen Flanigan finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists to round out a balanced Auburn offense.
For Kentucky, Oscar Tshiebwe scored 25 points on 12-for-13 shooting in the win over Florida as the Wildcats held a 40-21 rebounding advantage.
Jacob Toppin added 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Livingston also had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, Antonio Reeves, who averages 13.1 points per game, added 16 points and four assists against the Gators.
“It’s a good win,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “This time of the year, on the road, you just win and move on. Change my clothes, get on the plane and get out of here.”
Tshiebwe, last season’s national player of the year, leads Kentucky with 16.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
–Field Level Media