Kentucky hands Auburn first home loss of the season | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / April 16.
  • Kentucky hands Auburn first home loss of the season

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    Kentucky accomplished something no other team this season had done: they beat Auburn at Neville Arena.

    Despite being without senior forward Tre Mitchell, the No. 22 Wildcats beat No. 13 Auburn, 70-59, to earn their first victory at Auburn since 2019 and also handed the Tigers their first home loss of the season (13-0 before the game). Senior guard Antonio Reeves played a huge role, finishing with 22 points, as Kentucky improved to 18-7, 8-4 SEC. Auburn fell to 20-6, 9-4.

    “Man, it feels great,” Reeves said in a post-game television interview of being able to silence the home crowd. “The team stayed jelled. The crowd was really loud. We couldn’t really hear anything out there, but we stayed together. That’s what it’s all about.”

    Reeves has arguably been Kentucky’s best player this season, finishing in double-digits in all but one game.

    “Stay confident in myself [and] trust in myself,” he said. “Guys look for me out there. Players just find me. Just being able to stay focused and be in the gym every day.”

    Midway through the second half the Tigers lost their second-leading scorer in Jaylin Williams (13.4 PPG) to an apparent knee injury. However, that didn’t stop the Tigers from making a late 8-0 run to cut it to 64-56 before Kentucky’s Adou Thiero (14 points) put an end to the run with a dunk and extended the lead to 66-56.

    In the end the Wildcats were able to pull out to the victory thanks to a 23-10 differential in points off turnovers and they were able to hold the Tigers to just 30.9% from the field. Rob Dillingham added 11 points for the Wildcats, who were left out of the projected top 16 seeds by the NCAA Selection Committee on Saturday.

    Still, this Quad-1 road win helps their resume in a big way.

    “This has to be a huge confidence-builder for Kentucky,” said ESPN’s Jay Bilas said on air. “Kentucky has come into a grind it out game and they’ve been strong and together on the defensive end. It’s been really impressive.”

    The Wildcats will go on the road to face LSU (13-12, 5-7) on Feb. 21 and the Tigers will visit Georgia (14-11, 4-8) on Feb. 24.

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