But when it appeared Kentucky would breeze into Sunday's finals, the bad news took over.
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Auburn briefly cooled off from deep before lengthening out to a 19-point lead with just over nine minutes left. The total is set at 141 points.
Kentucky scored the first basket of the second half to lead by 13. "How we played down the stretch, Ashton making free throws, Tyler makes his shot, PJ makes the 3-point play".
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says the Tigers are hoping for the best in regard to forward Chuma Okeke's knee injury while acknowledging the severity of what happened during Friday's Sweet 16 win over North Carolina.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari paused Saturday to remind everyone that, as far as Auburn basketball great Charles Barkley is concerned, well, let's just say that he's No. 1 with Coach Cal. Danjel Purifoy had 12 points and two rebounds off the bench. J'von McCormack registered 10 points, two boards, two assists and two steals.
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. ET): Over 15.0 points (+114) - I'm adding this prop to my card.
In the first half, his eight points helped Kentucky control the action. Kentucky came out blazing against the nation's top field-goal defense and then gutted out a ragged second half thanks to Herro's big 3-pointer. Washington had 16 points for Kentucky in his first game back.
Auburn is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games while the under is 12-3 in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record.
But it wasn't enough as the sophomore Kentucky star will now have to switch gears to a decision on the National Basketball Association draft, having possibly played his last game for the Wildcats.
He will be with the team in Kansas City when Auburn takes on Kentucky in the Elite Eight looking to advance to the Final Four. Since that second loss, Auburn has won 11 in a row, including beating Tennessee twice, and the Tigers have played as well as any team in the NCAA Tournament. "I'm telling you, there is no team in the country playing better than them right now, and we have total respect".
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