Yesterday, some things happened that were out of my control and thus, I wasn’t able to share the Countdown article. So today’s countdown article is the one that was supposed to come out yesterday and we’ll do 2 on a day sometime in the near future.
So, let’s get into it, shall we?
You remember when Bill Walton called this game we’re gonna talk about today an “Event for the Ages?”
You may have heard me mention Kentucky-Auburn as “an event for the ages.” Here’s the video proof of that. pic.twitter.com/ONYHKpuP8Z— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 19, 2019
Bill Walton was absolutely right!
On top of that, whether you love him or hate him, when Dickie V comes to town, you know it’s a big game. Vitale hadn’t been on the call for a game inside Auburn Arena before this one and if I remember, it had been about 20 years since Vitale had called a game in Auburn.
What an event it was! What a basketball game this was! What an atmosphere Auburn Arena! What a comeback effort from Auburn. What a 2nd half from Bryce Brown! Despite the final result on January 19th, 2019, this was a day I’ll never forget.
These are the games that make me love college basketball, two really good teams going back and forth in a heavyweight fight. I got in line about 7 1⁄2 hours before the game tipped off and the buzz in the student section line was unbelievable.
Yeah, it’s maybe about 6 hours until the doors open for Auburn-Kentucky and I’m already here! pic.twitter.com/CIYXZcXSTT— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 19, 2019
Auburn came up just a tad short on this Saturday afternoon, but Auburn would take what they learned from this game and apply to a game against the same foe later on the down the road.
Total Points: 28
Date: January 19, 2019
Opponent: #12 Kentucky
Final Score: #12 Kentucky 82 #14 Auburn 80
So the stat line from Bryce this game was quite remarkable: 8-9 from the field, 6-7 from 3-point range, and 6-6 from the free throw line. What’s even more remarkable is how he got these stats. Bryce was 1-2 from the field in the 1st half and had 3 points at halftime. Bryce scored about 6 minutes into the game to make it 10-9 Kentucky. That was his only bucket of the half as the Cats led 35-27 at halftime.
Bryce has to shoot more than 2 times in the half.— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 19, 2019
The 2nd half didn’t start well for Auburn. Kentucky went on a 10-2 run to open the half to build a 45-29 lead. Timeout Auburn. Bryce would make a 2 coming out of the timeout but then Kentucky would convert an And-One on the other end to build their largest lead at 48-31 with 17 minutes left. Then things got fun.
Chuma scored in the paint and then after 3 turnovers combined by the teams, Bryce hit a 3 and converted a 4-point play as he was also fouled to cut the deficit to 48-37. After the teams started to trade baskets, Bryce connected for another 3 as Auburn was within 8 at 50-42.
But every time Auburn would make a run, Kentucky would have some kind of response as Keldon Johnson hit a 3 on the other end to quiet what became a raucous Auburn Arena. Kentucky would go back up 14 with 9 minutes left when Bryce was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He made all 3 free throws to make it 66-55 with 8:48 left. This was the start of a 11-0 run for Auburn. After Chuma made a dunk off a an assist from Bryce, Brown hit back to back 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and all of a sudden, it was a 66-63 game. Again, Kentucky responded with 5 straight on their own to make it 71-63. Chuma repaid the favor and delivered a nice backdoor pass to Bryce who finished the dunk to bring Auburn back to within 6 with 5:13 left. Bryce would strike again a minute later as he pulled Auburn within 3 once again at 73-70. But Tyler Herro continued to respond every time Auburn did something good hitting a 3 on his end. Bryce’s scoring finished with 2 free throws with 1:53 left after the flagrant foul on Horace Spencer by P.J. Washington.
Auburn would then take a 1 point lead with under 30 seconds left on a Jared Harper 3 before Herro made 2 free throws to put Kentucky back up for good moments later. I still don’t know Jared Harper’s layup didn’t go in but hey, it made Anfernee McLemore’s bucket in OT of the Elite 8 even sweeter seeing that one roll around the rim a time or two like Harper’s shot did. Auburn had a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer but it was no good and Auburn lost a tough one. Still, it was one of the most entertaining games I was a part of as a student at Auburn.
Tomorrow at #17, we’ll give some more love to a player we talked about earlier this week.