SEC Tournament: Kentucky 65, Auburn 54

Quarterfinals: No. 19 Kentucky 65, Auburn 54

Kentucky advances to the semifinals with a win over Auburn. The Cats are in front of the Big Blue faithful offering their thanks and joining them in singing the fight song as Victoria Dunlap and Coach Matthew Mitchell meet with the TV crew.

AFTER HALFTIME:

  • Dunlap just swatted an Alli Smalley shot into the fourth row to where her mother is sitting. Then the Player of the Year went to the bench with leg cramps.
  • Victoria Dunlap has 24 points for Kentucky so far and she has returned from a break of about a minute.
  • With 3:24 left in the game, the Cats are up 61-48 and seem to be in good shape to advance to the semifinals. If they do, they will face the winner of tonight’s Georgia vs. Mississippi State game.

Sorry for the delay. We had some technical difficulties …

Just to catch you up, UK scored seven straight out of the half and led by as many as 14 points early in the second half before the Tigers answered by scoring 11 unanswered. Back-to-back three-pointers by Amani Franklin and A’dia Mathies made it more comfortable for Kentucky again. Currently, with 6:05 to go, UK leads 57-44 and Auburn is starting to look a little tired.

  • After a 12-2 Kentucky run capped by a Rebecaa Gray three-pointer in the right corner, Auburn calls a timeout with 4:25 to go in the half.
  • UK trails 19-16 with 7:39 to go in the first half, but its defensive intensity seems to have picked up. The seven turnovers so far have been a problem.
  • With 11 minutes to go in the first half, Tigers have used a 12-4 run — including eight points from Jordan Toles — to grab a 16-12 lead. UK went three minutes between made baskets.
  • Kentucky jumped out to a 4-0 lead and now has a 6-4 edge with 15:49 to play in the first half. Dunlap has six of UK’s four points.
  • Wow. No pressure for UK. As they announced starting lineups here at the SEC Tournament, they included the latest honors for the Cats, including A’dia Mathies as Freshman of the Year, Victoria Dunlap as Player of the Year and Matthew Mitchell as Coach of the Year.

We are here in sunny, Duluth, Ga., ready for the tip off of the Kentucky-Auburn game, which is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center.

Second-seeded UK, which has lost two straight games for the first time all season, will attempt to avenge one of those losses this afternoon against the Tigers, who are the 10th seed and coming off a 74-61 win over Florida on Thursday.

Here is what Auburn Coach Nell Fortner had to say about facing Kentucky again so soon:

“It doesn’t matter if you played them the last regular season game or the middle. It doesn’t matter. Everybody is trying to play for the same thing, and that is to win this tournament. Doesn’t matter how you come in here. Everybody starts from the same place. So it’s a game that we’ll prepare hard for. We know that Kentucky is a really good team. They have Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year. My gosh, they’re tremendously talented. But we feel good about how we’re playing.”

Please check back here for more details and updates as we get closer to game time …

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