It started fast and erratic, with the score tied at six halfway through the first half, but the Cats took advantage of some hot shooting from sophomore Kyle Wiltjer to cruise past the Auburn Tigers and win on the road 75 –53.
Both teams played at a breakneck pace, flying down the court but not making a lot of shots. At one point, the Cats were shooting 14% from the floor and Auburn not much better. When center Nerlens Noel went out with two fouls with 8:27 left in the first half, and with reserve center Willie Cauley-Stein missing the game due to injury, it started looking a bit bleak. But sophomore Kyle Wiltjer came in for Noel and put the team on his back, playing surprisingly well against Auburn center Rob Chubb, one of the few players last season that made former Kentucky center Anthony Davis look human.
The Cats turned up the gas in the second half and never looked back, and cruised to an easy 22-point victory. Noteworthy in the second half was starting point guard Ryan Harrow leaving the game late with an apparent ankle injury. Stay tuned to Nation of Blue for the latest news on the seriousness of said injury.
Wiltjer lead all scorers with 17 points. Harrow had 12 points and eight assists. Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress had 12 points and seven rebounds apiece. Noel, despite the foul trouble, had 10 points, nine boards and matched a career high with seven blocks, including one block that was reminiscent of Tayshaun Prince’s block of Reggie Miller in the 2004 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Julius Mays contributed six points, as did Jarrod Polson, who set two individual benchmarks, with his first career SEC points and his first career block. Jon Hood played four minutes, but only had one rebound in the stat column.
Kentucky Basketball Postgame Notes
Kentucky 75 def. Auburn 53
January 19, 2013
Auburn Arena – Auburn, Ala.
–Kentucky improves to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference action with the win. Auburn falls to
8-9 overall and 2-2 in league play.
–UK now leads the series with Auburn 87-17 and 29-13 when the game is played in Auburn, Ala. The
Wildcats have won 14-straight in the series and have not lost to the Tigers since 2000.
–The Wildcats have claimed 28 of the last 29 meetings in the series.
–Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 22 when UK travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a date with the
Crimson Tide at 9 p.m. ET.
Team Game Notes
–UK used the starting combination of Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow, Julius Mays, Nerlens Noel and Alex
Poythress for the third time this season and is 3-0 when using that combination.
–Nerlens Noel opened the scoring for the third time this season.
–Kyle Wiltjer was the first sub off the bench for the Blue and White. He’s been the first sub for UK on four
occasions this season.
–Wiltjer connected on Kentucky’s first 3-point attempt of the game at the three-minute mark of the first half
to extend UK’s 3-point streak to 844 consecutive games which is a standard that ranks as the third longest
such streak in the nation.
–The Wildcats carried a 30-25 lead into the locker room at half time. UK is 12-0 when leading at the break.
–The Blue and White led the rebounding battle by a 43-30 margin. The Wildcats improve to 10-2 when
winning the battle of the boards.
–Kentucky earned a 27-point lead in the second half. It was the largest lead in league play this season.
–UK connected on .545 percent of its shots and improves to 6-0 when shooting above .500 for the game.
–The Wildcats improved to 71-1 under John Calipari when holding opponents to 63 or fewer points, and 30-
0 in the Calipari era when opponent scores below 55.
Individual Player Notes
#3 Nerlens Noel
–Swatted three or more opponent attempts in five-straight outings, and has six or more in the last three
games. He matched a career-high with seven tonight and has reached that total on four occasions this
–Has pulled down at least six rebounds in every game this season.
–Reached double-figure scoring in every SEC game this season with 10 points in tonight’s win.
#4 Jon Hood
–Saw his first game action since playing nine minutes against Lipscomb Dec. 15. #5 Jarrod Polson
–With a tip-in late in the first half, he scored his first career points in SEC action and the first since scoring a
pair against Eastern Michigan. The junior logged an SEC career-high six points in the win.
–Registered his first career block.
#10 Archie Goodwin
– Logged a career-high seven rebounds in conference action.
–Had a career-high tying three steals.
–Scored in double-figures in all but three games this season following a 12-point performance tonight.
–Notched his team-leading sixth three-point play this season at the 13:00 minute mark in the second half.
#12 Ryan Harrow
–With 12 points tonight, he has now scored in double-figures in eight-straight contests.
–Passed out multiple assists in 11-straight games, and matched a UK career-high with eight dimes in
#22 Alex Poythress
–Has registered at least six rebounds in every SEC game this season.
–Notched double-figure scoring in three-straight games and 12 total games this season.
–Made 9-of-11 free throws over the last three games.
#33 Kyle Wiltjer
–Has made at least one 3-point attempt in all but three games this season.
–Matched a career-high with five assists, a feat he last achieved against LIU Brooklyn earlier this season.
–Scored an SEC career-high tying 17-points marking consecutive double-figure scoring outings in SEC
action for the first time in his career.
#34 Julius Mays
–Connected on at least one 3-pointer in six-straight games, and multi 3’s in three-straight games.
–Passed out three assists and no turnovers and has a 28-to-7 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last 10