The fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers secured the biggest result in school’s history as they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats, 77-71, in overtime to win the Midwest Region and make it to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
A first for Auburn 😤 pic.twitter.com/IxCv5XrGWQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 31, 2019
Despite the fact that the Tigers couldn’t get things going from beyond the arc, hitting only seven triples on 23 attempts, Jared Harper and Bryce Brown helped lift them over the Wildcats. The duo combined for 50 points and also contributed defensively, recording three steals apiece.
Brown pushed the team forward early in the second half, while Harper scored 11 of Auburn’s 17 points in overtime, all coming on driving layups or free throws. Harper also forced overtime with a driving layup with 38 seconds remaining.
Even though they were without injured forward Chuma Okeke, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the Sweet 16 win against the Tar Heels, the Tigers deserved to find themselves in the Final Four.
Bruce Pearl’s side is known for favoring three-pointers and 49.5 percent of their field-goal attempts this season are from the perimeter, so this win is even bigger as they didn’t have a good game from beyond the arc.
Auburn Basketball. Welcome To The Jungle. pic.twitter.com/3UtjvcvTmt
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 31, 2019
On the other end, PJ Washington led the Wildcats with a double-double of 28 points and game-high 13 rebounds off the bench but had his potential game-winning shot blocked in the final seconds of regulation. Keldon Johnson had an opportunity to tie the game late in overtime but misfired from downtown.
Auburn is red-hot at the moment as they have won 12 consecutive games, including the last three against Kansas, North Carolina and now Kentucky.