UK basketball looks to end skid at Auburn


Kentucky freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drives towards the basket during the game against Tennessee at Rupp Arena on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was defeated 61-59. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Abbie Long

After coming off an 11-point loss to Texas A&M in College Station, Kentucky will be looking for redemption against the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday night in a Valentine’s Day match-up, in hopes of snapping a three-game losing streak.

The loss to the Aggies was a brutal one for the Cats, but looking ahead to Wednesday night’s match-up with Bruce Pearl’s Tigers at Auburn Arena could present Kentucky with even more challenges.

Read: UK drops out of the top 25

No. 10 Auburn defeated Georgia 78-61 in Athens on Saturday night. The Tigers were led by sophomore guard Jared Harper’s 24 points, matching his career high.

With this win against Georgia, the Tigers moved to 22-3 on the season and 10-2 in SEC play, further securing their spot at the top of the leader board in the SEC.

Four of Auburn’s players average double digit points per game, led by junior guard Bryce Brown (16.6.) Sophomore guard Mustapha Heron, junior forward Desean Murray and Harper are the other three Tigers averaging double-figure scoring, all averaging at least 11 points per game.

Those four players lead Auburn’s offense that sits in the No. 8 spot for points per game in the NCAA with 85.5, tied with The Citadel.

In Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M, freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and freshman forward Kevin Knox were the only two positive factors during the game. The rest of UK’s roster didn’t make much of a difference, especially down the stretch.

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 13.1 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game and 3.6 rebounds per game. Auburn will be looking to keep the ball out of his hands on Wednesday.

UK leads the series versus Auburn 92-18, dating back to 1921. The last time the Cats fell to the Tigers was Jan. 16, 2016, at Auburn, 75-70.

Road games have proven to be the Cats’ kryptonite this season, as five of UK’s eight losses came away from Rupp Arena.

The looming question circulating around this UK team and head coach John Calipari is, “When is it time to panic?” UK has never had a three game losing streak since Calipari was named head coach in 2009, and more losses may be coming soon.

The UK-Auburn match-up is set to a 9 p.m. tip-off and will be aired on ESPN2.