AUBURN, Ala. (UK Athletics)- Samir Doughty scored 23 points while making 14 of 15 free throws and No. 17 Auburn finished strong in a 75-66 win over 13th-ranked Kentucky on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament rematch.
Isaac Okoro made a key 3-pointer and scored 14 points for the Tigers (19-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), who dominated the final four minutes.
It wasn’t nearly as big as their 77-71 overtime victory over the Wildcats (16-5, 6-2) that vaulted Auburn to its first Final Four last season, but it moved the Tigers into a tie for second place in the SEC.
The Tigers hadn’t played a ranked team all season but face league leader No. 22 LSU next Saturday.
Immanuel Quickley led Kentucky with 23 points before fouling out in the final minute, taking away the Wildcats’ top 3-point shooter with point guard Ashton Hagans already on the bench with five fouls. Tyrese Maxey added 22 points while stars Hagans and Nick Richards struggled.
Hagans fouled out on a steal attempt with 3:36 left and Auburn leading 62-60. He had five points – his second lowest total of the season – and three assists while committing six turnovers.
Richards had seven points, half his season average, and seven rebounds.
Auburn outscored foul-plagued Kentucky 16-6 down the stretch after trailing much of the way. Danjel Purifoy started that hot streak with a 3-pointer and Okoro buried another for a 68-62 lead with 2:36 left.
Kentucky didn’t make a field goal over the final 2:15.
Auburn capped a drama-filled week after rallying from 19 points down in the second half for an 83-82 overtime win over Mississippi.
Kentucky: Fell to 3-2 against ranked teams and forced only seven turnovers.
Auburn: Has won 15 straight home games. The Tigers overcame a poor shooting night after hitting 18 of 51 shots (35.3%).
The disparity in the programs’ history was amplified by ESPN College GameDay’s airing from Auburn for the first time. It was Kentucky’s 19th appearance on the show, second most among programs.
Doughty scored 10 points during Auburn’s early 12-1 run, making all seven free throw attempts and a 3-pointer.
Kentucky hosts Mississippi State on Tuesday night.
Auburn visits Arkansas on Tuesday night.