The Kentucky Wildcats finally got their revenge on Auburn, beating the Tigers 73-66 in Rupp Arena on Saturday. In the process, Kentucky also won its 49th SEC regular-season title with two games still left to be played.
Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards and Tyrese Maxey combined for 49 to do the bulk of the scoring for Kentucky, while Auburn was held to just 36.1% shooting from the floor and hit just 13/22 free throws.
Ashton Hagans had just one turnover vs. five assists, but he shot an abysmal 2/13 from the field. He’s still got some work to do before he’s a point guard capable of leading his team to a Final Four.
After the games. UK Athletics released the latest season stats with 29 games in the books:
And here are the postgame notes and milestones:
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky has won eight in a row and is 24-5 overall, 14-2 in the Southeastern Conference.
- The Wildcats clinched their 49th SEC regular-season championship (outright) and the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament.
- It’s UK’s sixth regular-season SEC title in 11 seasons under John Calipari and first since 2017.
- Auburn is 24-5 overall, 11-5 in the SEC.
- UK leads the series 95-21, although Auburn had won the previous two meetings.
- UK leads 49-2 in games played in Lexington.
- Next up: it will be Senior Night on Tuesday as the Wildcats honor Nate Sestina before the 9 p.m. home game vs. Tennessee. The game will be televised on ESPN.
- Immanuel Quickley had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the season.
- He has been torrid in the second half in UK’s current eight-game win streak, veraging 14.9 points in the second half alone during this eight-game stretch.
- It is his 18th consecutive game in double figures, most since Malik Monk had a 30-game streak during the 2016-17 season.
- Entering the game leading the SEC in free-throw percentage at 91.5%, he made all 11 charity tosses tonight and has made 17 straight, his fourth streak this season of 17 or more consecutive makes at the line.
- Tyrese Maxey recorded 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
- Maxey continues to play his best against the best, averaging 19 points per game against UK’s six ranked (Associated Press Top 25) opponents.
- It is his 21st game this season in double figures.
- UK is 5-0 this season when he gets seven or more rebounds.
- Despite being limited to 18 minutes because of foul trouble, Nick Richards had 14 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. He made all five field-goal attempts.
- Nate Sestina came off the bench to get 11 points, steadying the Wildcats when they fell behind early. It was his fourth game in double figures this season.
Coach John Calipari
- Calipari is now 329-76 at UK.
- He has a 774-216 all-time on-court record.
- UK is 63-33 vs. AP Top 25 foes under Calipari.
- Kentucky is 150-40 under Calipari in SEC regular-season games.
- Calipari is 12-4 all-time vs. Auburn.
- Not only is it Calipari’s sixth regular-season conference title at UK, it’s his 16th career regular-season championship with his time at UMass and Memphis.
- In addition to his 16 regular-season titles, he has 15 league tournament crowns for a combined 31 conference championships. That mark trails only Mark Few of Gonzaga among all active coaches. Few is up to 34 total after winning the West Coast Conference regular-season title this season. All-time, Calipari trails only the great Adolph Rupp (41) and Few.
- Kentucky held Auburn to 36.1% from the field. UK is 202-19 (.914) under Calipari when keeping the opponent to 40% or less, including 15-3 this season.
- UK entered the game leading the SEC in field goal defense at 38.7 percent.
- Entering the game leading the SEC at 79.3% at the foul line, Kentucky made 27 of 33 free throws (81.8%).
- UK has made at least 75% at the line in 12 straight games.
- Free throws made the difference in both of the games this season vs. Auburn.
- On Feb. 1, Auburn made 33 of 44 at the charity stripe while UK hit 20 of 24.
- Today, UK made 27 of 33 while Auburn got 13 of 22.
- Kentucky is 8-2 all-time on games played on Leap Day, with a seven-game winning streak, and has not lost on Leap Day since 1936.
In the First Half
- The starting lineup consisted of Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards for the 14th time this season. UK is 12-2 with the lineup.
- Nate Sestina was UK’s first substitute at the 16:40 mark.
- Auburn came out hot, making its first four 3-point shots en route to an 18-9 lead.
- Trailing 20-11, UK went on an 18-3 run for its first lead at 29-23. The Cats never trailed again.
- UK went to the locker room ahead 40-37. Maxey paced the first-half effort with 12 points.
- UK is 19-2 this season when leading at intermission.
In the Second Half
- Kentucky opened the second half with the starting lineup.
- Ahead 53-46 at the 14:32 mark, UK went more than seven minutes without a basket. Five free throws by Quickley, one by Richards and two by Montgomery during that span kept a tenuous lead for the Wildcats. Hagans finally broke the drought with a steal and layup at the 7:08 mark, making it 63-58.
- Auburn got no closer than three points the rest of the way as the Wildcats held on for the win.