No. 12 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Auburn: Live basketball updates, scores and highlights

·9 min read

The Kentucky men's basketball team (15-3, 5-1) has a chance to grab its biggest win of the season when it travels to No. 2 Auburn on Saturday.

After getting a gutsy and scrappy 64-58 win against Texas A&M on Wednesday, the Wildcats must revamp and get ready for another tough match that has major postseason implications.

Kentucky needs Quadrant 1 wins to mount a case for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beat writer Jon Hale wrote. Auburn needs a signature win to pass Gonzaga for the top spot in the top 25 polls for the first time in program history.

With so much on the line, expect a high-intensity bout down in Alabama for coach John Calipari and his Wildcats.

More: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky and how the nation's top rebounding team turns boards into points

ESPN: Kentucky basketball freshman Shaedon Sharpe eligible for 2022 NBA draft

Final Score: Auburn 80, Kentucky 71

The Auburn Tigers closed out the night with a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats, 80-71.

Auburn Sophomore Walker Kessler closed the game shooting 80-percent from the field for 19-points, seven rebounds and two assists. Freshman forward Jabari Smith finished the night with 14-points, seven rebounds and two assists.

Kentucky Junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe carried the torch for Kentucky in the second half to give the Wildcats hope, finishing with a double-double, 16-points, 14-rebounds, and one assist. Battling what appeared to be an injury for majority of the second half, Junior guard Sahvir Wheeler ended with 17-points and four assists.

2:10, 2H: Jacob Toppin fouls out, Auburn still holds lead

Kentucky Sophomore guard Jacob Toppin reaches foul limit. Auburn 72, Kentucky 64

3:20, 2H: Kentucky guard Kellan Grady closes the gap

Kellan Grady nails the three-pointer to bring the Wildcats within four. Auburn 68, Kentucky 64

3:58, 2H: Auburn takes over, Kentucky shooting well

Auburn 68, Kentucky 60

7:38, 2H: Wheeler returns from injury, TyTy Washington Jr still out

Auburn 58, Kentucky 50

9:54, 2H: Walker Kessler throws down the alley-oop, lead pushed to nine

The Tigers post the biggest lead of the night after the big play by Walker Kessler and Wendell Green Jr. Auburn 56, Kentucky 47

11:28, 2H: Kessler screen on Wheeler leaves UK with two downed guards

High screen on Sahvir Wheeler makes guard leave for locker room in second half of play. Auburn 51, Kentucky 47

13:58, 2H: Auburn Devan Cambridge dunks it home to push the lead

Auburn on a 7-0 run and a commanding lead after the Devan Cambridge dunk, with the assist from Wendell Green Jr. Auburn 45, Kentucky 40

15:38, 2H: Auburn ties it up, taking advantage of UK with Washington Jr out

The Tigers take advantage of TyTy Washington Jr's late first half departure by closing the Wildcats four-point halftime lead. Kentucky 38, Auburn 38

Halftime: Kentucky is leading Auburn, 33-29, at the half

Kentucky went into the locker room leading Auburn, 33-29.

Kentucky Junior guard Sahvir Wheeler ended the half hot, shooting 42-percent from the field for 8-points. Center Oscar Tshiebwe has been a force on the glass with 8-rebounds. TyTy Washington also left the game early with an ankle injury.

On Auburn's side, Sophomore forward Walker Kessler is leading the Tigers in scoring, shooting 80-percent from the field for 11-points.

An excited, but frustrated Kentucky coach, John Calipari, gave a brief interview before heading into the locker room. “Why would you try to steal with 11 seconds to go?” said Calipari, “they [Auburn] are a really good team in an unbelievable environment.”

8:20, 1st H: TyTy Washington Jr. injury

TyTy Washington Jr. enters locker room with ankle injury in 1st half. Kentucky 25, Auburn 21

More on the injury: Kentucky basketball freshman TyTy Washington sidelined by ankle injury at Auburn

13:33, 1st H: Kentucky on a 13-0 run against Auburn early

The Tigers currently have four turnovers, while the Wildcats have four steals. Kentucky 17, Auburn 9

16:25, 1st H: Kellan Grady drops a big three for Kentucky

Kentucky guard Kellan Grady sinks the three-pointer. Kentucky 9, Auburn 7

19:40, 1st H: UK Oscar Tshiebwe with the alley-oop dunk

Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe throws down alley-oop with the assist from TyTy Washington Jr. Kentucky 2, Auburn 0

Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky and how the nation's top rebounding team turns boards into points

Rebounding is not regularly revered.

It’s applauded, sure, but it’s telling that the NBA’s current rebound leader — Rudy Gobert — may be better recognized for being the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19, while the league’s leaders in points per game are well-known by only one name: Durant, LeBron, Giannis.

And yet, one of the leading candidates for this season’s national college player of the year is Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, who’s made his mark on the glass with a Division I-best 14.8 rebounds per game. One of the 6-foot-9, 255-pound center’s most impressive performances came at home against Western Kentucky last month when he grabbed 28 boards; after the game, the effervescent Tshiebwe grabbed a fan’s sign tallying his rebounds and hoisted it above his shoulders.

Read more from Hayes Gardner here

Shaedon Sharpe plans on returning to Kentucky instead of entering draft

LEXINGTON - Skeptics may have viewed Thursday's news that Kentucky basketball freshman Shaedon Sharpe was likely eligible for the 2022 NBA draft as a sign his UK career would end before it started, but John Calipari says that is not necessarily the case.

"It doesn’t change anything," Kentucky's coach said Friday. "... He plans on being here next year."

ESPN reported Thursday that Sharpe was in fact eligible to apply for early entry into the NBA draft despite an earlier report from the website last year that he was not. Sharpe satisfies the NBA's age requirement (that a player turn 19 in the year of the draft), but there was some question about whether he satisfied the second requirement that a player be a year removed from his high school graduation.

Read more from Jon Hale here.

How to watch Kentucky vs. Auburn

When: 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21

Where: Auburn Arena; Auburn, Alabama (9,121)

The game will be broadcast on CBS. That's channel 32 in Louisville and 27 in Lexington on DirecTV, Dish, U-Verse and FiOs. On Spectrum Cable, it is channel 5 in Louisville and channel 9 in Lexington.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky basketball v. Auburn: Tyty Washington out, scores, highlights