The Kentucky Wildcats were looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Alabama earlier this week as they traveled to Auburn to take on the Tigers. Despite a close game early and a solid defensive effort, the Wildcats fell on the road 66-59 and are now 3-2 in SEC play and 4-8 overall.
The big question going into the game was whether or not Kentucky could keep up with Auburn’s shooting. When the Tigers only scored 21 first half points, the narrative changed to which team would be able to shoot the least-poorly.
And you have to give credit to Kentucky’s defensive effort, but Auburn found ways to score in the second half when Kentucky did not.
The Wildcats were led in scoring by Davion Mintz with 11 points. But the Wildcats did not get enough from anybody on the offensive end and they will continue to have an uphill battle to make the NCAA Tournament. Their next chance at a win will be Wednesday night as they stay on the road and take on the Bulldogs of Georgia.
Normally the MVP will be a guy that jumps out on a stat sheet or had some huge plays to give their team a chance to win. Today’s MVP selection was a tough one due to Kentucky’s inability to produce offensively, so attention much be played to the defensive side of the ball. Because he often drew the assignment of guarding Sharife Cooper and Cooper made only three shots for the entire game, today’s most valuable player is Jacob Toppin.
Toppin has continued to develop this season into a guy at the top of the bench rotation. He has produced more than expected offensively, proven to be a defensive weapon that can guard multiple positions, and he does well at rebounding on both ends of the court. He did score 10 points for the Wildcats at Auburn, including a monster dunk around the one minute mark, but his defense and overall toughness were the most impressive part of Kentucky’s ugly loss on Saturday.