The No. 2 Auburn Tigers are still the top dog in SEC men’s basketball and will likely take over as the top team in the next AP Poll after beating No. 12 Kentucky on Saturday, 80-71.
Auburn trailed by double digits in the first half and was behind 33-29 at halftime, but stormed back with a huge 51-point second half. The Tigers shot well, making 56.8 percent of their field goals, but it was the team’s performance from the free-throw line that proved the difference.
Kentucky racked up fouls, and Auburn made 21 of 23 free-throw attempts in the second half. The Wildcats shot only six free throws after halftime and made four.
The win was Auburn’s 15th straight and improved the team to 18-1 on the year and 7-0 in SEC play. Kentucky’s win streak ended at four, and the team dropped to 15-4 with a 5-2 conference record.
Auburn finished just four points behind Gonzaga for the top spot in the most recent AP Poll, despite getting 11 more first place votes. The quality victory over a ranked opponent likely means the Tigers will be the top team in the next AP Poll.