Auburn, AL (EETV) -- College Gameday was just the beginning on what was an epic day for Auburn fans. The Tigers enjoyed their first win against a top-25 team by celebrating with the fans after the 75-66 win against Kentucky.
Some fans lined up as early as 3:30 a.m. to get a wristband which would allow them to have student section seating.
“We have the best fans in the country,” Samir Doughty said.
However, the G.O.A.T.ed fans grew awfully quiet after the Wildcats took an early 9-2 lead. Doughty then took it upon himself to get the energy back where it needed to be, scoring 16 of the next 21 points for the Tigers.
He would lead all scorers with 23 points while going 14-of-15 from the foul line, which was open for business all night.
Auburn went 33-of-44 from the charity stripe because Kentucky committed a whopping 29 fouls.
“They couldn’t stay in front of us in the first half,” Doughty said. “I don’t know what was going on.”
Kentucky head coach John Calipari said the way the Wildcats ended the first half, was unacceptable. They missed layups, turned the ball over and gave up lazy fouls to keep Auburn in the game.
Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans had a nightmare of a game, finishing with more turnovers than points, six turnovers and five points, to go along with fouling out with 3:36 to go in the game.
It was a role reversal with guard play from both teams. In Auburn’s previous game against Ole Miss, J’Von McCormick had nine turnovers by himself. However, on Saturday night, the Tigers had seven turnovers overall, well below their season average of 13 a game.
Auburn’s overnight improvement is impressive because of how good Kentucky’s backcourt is defensively with the duo of Hagans and Tyrese Maxey.
Both of whom are on the top-25 midseason for the John R. Wooden Award which is given to the most outstanding college basketball player.
The second half saw two evenly matched teams swapping buckets. There were 11 lead changes up until the 5:16 mark, that’s when Auburn for the first time this season finished a game playing like a truly great team.
They made their free throws and kept control of the ball. But, most importantly out-rebounded (42-28) and out-manned a physical Kentucky team.
Big man Austin Wiley finished 12 points and 10 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season. Isaac Okoro, while not having a statistically great shooting night, filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Auburn got the win that will not only cement the fact that they are great team, but that will finally get the respect that this team deserves.
Next up for Auburn is a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Feb. 4th. Tip-off is scheduled 6:00 p.m. CT and you can watch it on the SEC Network.