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Tip-Off Countdown: #59 (10) Auburn 76 Kentucky 66

#BeatKentucky

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

February 14, 2018 - Auburn Arena

It was Valentine’s Day in Auburn, Alabama and love was in the air..... for this Auburn Basketball team that is.

Auburn was “favored” over a Kentucky for the first time in quite a long time as the Cats were struggling as they made their way to Auburn Arena at 6-6 in SEC and had lost their previous 3 games. This was also the return of a former Auburn coach who let’s just say isn’t very well liked around here. You may remember said coach didn’t make the trip when Kentucky previously came to Auburn in 2016.

Auburn got off to a very slow start in this one making just one basket in the games first 9 minutes before a 3 from Malik Dunbar to put Auburn up for the first time, 11-10. Anfernee McLemore would hit another 3 on the Tigers next possession and then blocked a shot on defense which led to a second basket from Dunbar to force a Kentucky timeout with Auburn up 16-12 halfway through the first half. Contributions up and down the lineup as 6 players had at least 5 points gave Auburn a 39-33 halftime lead.

Auburn kept about a 4-6 point lead early in the 2nd half but a 7-0 Kentucky run put the Cats up 49-48 with 13 minutes left. The lead would swap several times but going into the Under 8 timeout, Kentucky led 57-53 and had the ball. Then things got really fun in Auburn Arena.

Anfernee McLemore had an alley-oop dunk and Bryce Brown responded after a Kentucky basket with a 3 to pull Auburn within 1 at 59-58. Anfernee McLemore would get a steal on the next possession and Bryce Brown would pull up from mid-range to put Auburn back up 60-59.

The next sequence of this game was probably my favorite segment of the entire year and Anfernee McLemore was the absolute star of it because in a game full of McDonald’s All-Americans, Anfernee was the BEST player on the court that night.

Man I get chills watching that sequence.....

Auburn Arena went nuts, and the Tigers led by 3 with 5:30 to go. The Tigers would continue to hold the lead coming down to the wire but with 1:40 to go and Auburn up 4, Bryce Brown would hit the dagger 3-pointer that put Auburn up 71-64. Five free throws and a Jungle chant of “NIT” at Kentucky later (that was something) and Auburn had beaten Kentucky for the 2nd time in 3 meetings.

Jared Harper and Bryce Brown each scored 18 points to lead Auburn. Harper also had 7 assists. Anfernee McLemore had his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Mustapha Heron had 11 points and Desean Murray had 9 points and 11 rebounds.

It wasn’t Auburn’s best shooting night but despite of that, they got the W!

Here are the highlights!

Auburn moved to 23-3 and 11-2 on the season and things were looking great but unfortunately for Auburn, there was major adversity right around the corner and Auburn would fall at South Carolina the next game, losing Anfernee McLemore to a season ending injury. Up next is another one of my personal favorite games at Auburn Arena so come back to see the #58 entry on the countdown!!