By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari recalls
Auburn's Tony Barbee as "one of the most hard-headed players I've
The second-ranked Wildcats found Barbee's team similarly
stubborn Wednesday night before finishing an uneven performance
with a flourish in a 68-53 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (16-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) had a 23-6
closing run for their second straight 15-point league win. They
didn't take a double-digit lead over the Tigers (10-6, 0-2) until
Anthony Davis scored on an alley-oop pass from Doron Lamb with 1:31
"We went on a run at the end of the game, but you all know it
was a double-bucket game and they could have beat us," Calipari
It would have been a rarity. Kentucky has won the last 13
meetings and 27 of 28 against the Tigers.
But Barbee's Tigers held the Wildcats to 40.4 percent (23 of 57)
shooting. Auburn held its own with a formidable frontcourt, and
Kentucky was outrebounded for the second straight game (35-29).
"The guys fought their tails off," said Barbee, who played for
Calipari at UMass and coached under him at Memphis. "We have to
take this and expound on it and go to the next level.
"I found a style that I think is going to work for this team.
It is to shorten the games and grind it out."
The Wildcats came into the game dominating the boards with an
SEC-best 8.8-rebound margin over opponents, but lost out on a
number of scrambles for the ball.
"They beat us all to balls," Calipari said. "Michael
Gilchrist had one rebound until the end. They wanted it worse than
we did. They played with desire we didn't have."
Anthony Davis and Lamb scored 14 points apiece for the Wildcats.
Marquis Teague and Terrence Jones each had 12 points. Darius Miller
went 3 of 5 from 3-point range for Kentucky and had nine points.
Davis had six rebounds and four blocks, but had his string of
double-doubles end at five games.
"They really outhustled us on the boards," Davis said. "We
started getting rebounds. At the end, we just had to get every
rebound. Every possession counted."
Rob Chubb led Auburn with 14 points and eight rebounds, but
missed all three of his shots in the second half. Chris Denson had
Kentucky, which committed just eight turnovers, gradually gained
control after Auburn took a 47-45 lead on Chubb's two free throws
with 10:52 left.
Miller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hit back-to-back 3s late in a
13-2 run that all but ended any concerns, and the Wildcats didn't
let up from there. The biggest remaining question was if the
Wildcats would have only their third single-digit win - the first
two coming against then-top 5 teams North Carolina and Louisville.
Auburn didn't join that illustrious group.
Barbee fell to 0-5 coaching against his mentor, the first three
coming at UTEP. The Tigers were coming off 29- and 30-point road
losses to Florida State and Vanderbilt, which held Auburn to 35
The Tigers kept it close even with leading scorers Kenny Gabriel
and Frankie Sullivan in foul trouble. Gabriel had six points and
Sullivan five after both came in averaging nearly 12.
Barbee moved to a bigger lineup with 6-foot-8 Adrian Forbes
getting his first start. It paid off in the first half with the
Tigers dominating the boards 21-11.
Miller, though, finished with a 3-pointer as time expired after
a turnover to put the Wildcats ahead 32-28.
"The play at the end of the half was unbelievable execution,"
Calipari said. "We've run that scripted play probably 50 times,
and I walked into halftime and said, `That's why we scripted it."'
He was glad to get the game with his former player out of the
"If we had lost, I would have been ecstatic for him," Calipari
said. "He knows that."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved