February 1, 2020 - Auburn Arena
If you would have told this is the last time I would get to attend an Auburn Basketball game for a very long time, I wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s the world we live in today.
This entire day was an absolutely phenomenal day for the Auburn Basketball program. Yes, Kentucky was in town and the teams were playing for the first time since Auburn knocked off the Cats to send the Tigers to the Final Four in Minneapolis, but it was also a chance to showcase the Jungle to a nationwide audience as ESPN’s Basketball Version of College Gameday made a trip to the Plains for the first time.
"Auburn is a basketball school too ... but in the SEC you are still measured by how you do against Kentucky."— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) February 1, 2020
We're live from Auburn Arena! pic.twitter.com/H2zVpkdLIG
Oh man, I got full chills watching that first video.......
BRRUUUUCCCEEEEE!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/0x0LdLiFoL— Jaylin Williams/Simpson Fan Account (@ShootyHoopsWill) February 1, 2020
Bruce Pearl had a goal to make College GameDay come to Auburn and we made it happen pic.twitter.com/NlHkwqeI2O— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) February 1, 2020
With a win, the Tigers had a chance to keep pace with LSU and be tied with Kentucky as the SEC season approached the halfway point.
And as Bruce Pearl said, we were fixing to have us a good day......
Bruce Pearl's pregame speech pic.twitter.com/GGgPPtVQQ1— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 1, 2020
It was a great start for Kentucky in this raucous environment though as 3s from Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans helped the Cats get off to a 9-2 start.
Auburn didn’t shoot the ball very well at all in this contest, going just 18-51 overall from the field (35.3%) but the Tigers made their living by getting to the free throw line A LOT!!! Which meant the Cats were plagued with foul trouble up and down the lineup.
Samir Doughty carried Auburn through that first half and the Tigers first 3 of the game, courtesy of Doughty would cap off a 12-1 run to give Auburn a 14-10 lead.
Kentucky would retake the lead as the Tigers couldn’t buy a bucket and trailed 24-17 with 6 minutes left in the half but Doughty wouldn’t be denied. Two buckets from Samir kept the Tigers within striking distance and Auburn made some free throws to close the gap to 1 in the final minute of the half. Danjel Purifoy made a 3 to give the Tigers a momentarily lead seconds before halftime but Tyrese Maxey would respond with a 3 on the other end as Kentucky led 35-34 at halftime.
Purifoy would start the 2nd half the way he ended the 1st half, by knocking down a 3. Immanuel Quickly would hit a 3 to take the lead right back and the teams swapped the lead several times during the early parts of the 2nd half.
This was a big sequence here as Austin Wiley’s bucket and 3-point play gave Auburn a 48-44 lead. Wiley had his way with Nick Richards as he and McLemore were able to keep Kentucky’s big man in check throughout this game. Going into the game, I thought who won the battle of the big men would be who won this game.
Calipari mentioned Auburn’s drives & Austin Wiley’s offensive rebounds. Auburn curls when Kentucky goes over the flex downscreen. Many times Richards had to help on drives & Wiley was too big for the guards who cracked down on him. @KentuckyRivals @RowlandRIVALS @Trav_Graf pic.twitter.com/ZhKrAajFjy— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) February 2, 2020
Kentucky led by 5 with about 9 minutes to go but a play created by Isaac Okoro would set up a dunk for McLemore to cut Kentucky’s lead to 3.
Nice dump off from Isaac Okoro penetrating the zone pic.twitter.com/OeXv1cL0BD— Max Carlin (@maxacarlin) February 2, 2020
Okoro’s first 3 of the evening tied the game at 54 with 6:49 to go and then the teams once again swapped the lead multiple times.
But in the final 4 minutes, it was Okoro and Danjel Purifoy who made some big shots to put the Tigers ahead for good.
Purifoy’s 3rd 3 of the day put the Tigers ahead 62-60 with 4 minutes to go and they never trailed again.
Ashton Hagans would foul out on the next Kentucky possession as the fouls mounted for Kentucky.
With about 2:30 to go and the Tigers up 65-62, we got another signature moment from Okoro as this 3 served as a huge dagger to Kentucky.
The best player on the floor, Isaac Okoro pic.twitter.com/fXIfnu2xfJ— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) February 2, 2020
Austin Wiley had a huge bucket off an offensive rebound to put Auburn up 6 and then Samir Doughty put this game away at the charity stripe.
Doughty was 14-15 from the free throw line as Auburn shot 33-44 from the free throw line for the game. Auburn was 6-23 from 3-point range for the game but made their last 3 3-point attempts.
Samir had 23 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Tigers. Isaac Okoro had 14 points including those 2 big 3s late in the game. Austin Wiley won his matchup with Nick Richards and had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Danjel Purifoy scored 11 points and made 3 of Auburn’s 6 3s for Auburn.
For the game, there were a total of 17 lead changes.
And let’s just say Auburn Arena was pure jubilation once this game ended.
Auburn wins. Pure jubilation on the Plains. pic.twitter.com/HBICCuGjMn— Nathan King (@byNathanKing) February 2, 2020
Here are the highlights!
And while it doesn’t happen often enough after basketball wins, it snowed in Auburn, Alabama on this Saturday night.
It snowed in Auburn this evening!!!!! pic.twitter.com/VTIqm6VUza— Jaylin Williams/Simpson Fan Account (@ShootyHoopsWill) February 2, 2020
It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!! War Eagle!