LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Wildcats have had much difficulty closing out games down the stretch in the second half this season. But on Saturday at Rupp Arena, a different outcome for UK as they were able to hold off the Auburn Tigers, 82-80.
Isaiah Jackson rang up a double-double for the Cats as he scored 18 points and hauled in 11 boards. He also blocked a shot in the game’s final second to help Kentucky capture its sixth victory of the season.
" I want this team to finish and be something that people talk about 20 years from now,” said UK head coach John Calipari. “I’m trying to get them to believe what I believe and trying to motivate them, and hug them and be positive,” he added.
The coach is seeing much improvement lately.
“Against Auburn, 15 assists and 13 turnovers, we’re getting closer,” said Calipari.
Auburn led by six points at halftime, then Kentucky hit its stride. B.J. Boston sparked the Cats with 17 and his triple gave UK a 47 to 41 advantage with 16 minutes to play.
Kentucky led by 14 with 10:36 left, but Auburn roared back , led by J.T. Thor who pumped in 24 points for the visitors.
In the final minute and the game tied at 77, the Cats Davion Mintz connected from the arc to give his team an 80-77 lead.
Auburn’s last chance was snuffed out by Kentucky’s Jackson, who swatted away Sharife Coopers shot in the closing seconds.
Kentucky, now 6-13, is slated to play at Vandy on Wednesday night.