Kentucky vs. Auburn: Wildcats Pull Away in Second Half, Crush Tigers 75-53

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2013

Jan 19, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA: Kentucky Wildcats forward Nerlens Noel (3) shoots over Auburn Tigers guard Frankie Sullivan (23) during the first half at Auburn Arena.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It may have been against an inferior opponent, but the Kentucky Wildcats actually looked like the team that we heard about all during the offseason while they routed the Auburn Tigers 75-53.

With Willie Cauley-Stein back in Lexington recovering from knee surgery and a raucous crowd expected at Auburn Arena, the Wildcats' recent struggles in the SEC made this game seem it like it had the perfect ingredients for an upset.

But fortunately for UK and the Big Blue Nation, that would not at all be the case. The Wildcats played like every one their fans and head coach John Calipari had been waiting for all season.There was great hustle on both ends of the court, lots of fast break buckets and a much needed confidence-building win for this young squad to build on.


The Good

  • Kentucky struggled behind the three-point line (5-of-15, 33.3 percent), but they were outstanding from the floor overall, going 30-of-55 for an impressive 54.5 percent field goal percentage.
  • Kyle Wiltjer was fantastic, leading the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points to go along four rebounds and five incredibly pretty assists.
  • Despite struggling with some early foul trouble, Nerlens Noel turned in his usual great (and just short of a triple-double) stat line: 10 points, nine rebounds, seven blocks.
  • Despite having an uncharacteristically high five turnovers, Ryan Harrow still had a great game, scoring 12 points to go along with eight assists and five rebounds.
  • Archie Goodwin wasn't as explosive as he was early in the season, but he showed signs of finally regaining his offensive rhythm, scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.

The Bad

  • As a team, Kentucky gave the ball up far more than you would expect in a blowout win like this. They ended up with 14 turnovers vs. 17 assists.
  • Once again for the Wildcats, free-throw shooting was not great: 10-for-16 for 62.5 percent.


The Weird

  • Auburn's cheer sheets that they distributed to their students (screen shots of which were posted at Kentucky Sports Radio) for tonight's game were a bit insulting, to say the least. They included comedic gems like claiming that Kentucky's trophies could be found at Walmart and that only 0.2 percent of the fan base went to school. 


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