Tigers upset bid falls short against No. 14 Kentucky

AUBURN, Ala. – Chris Denson scored 26 points to lead Auburn, but the Tigers fell to No. 14 Kentucky 64-56 on Wednesday in Auburn Arena.

"Our guys played hard. I'm proud of how hard our guys fought and how tough they were, but at the end of the day give credit to Kentucky," Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. "They made winning plays when the game mattered."

Denson, the SEC scoring leader, scored 25 or more for the third-straight game and for the sixth time this season.

Kentucky (19-5, 9-2) led by as many as 10 in the first half, but the Tigers closed the gap to one with 4:11 remaining before the half on a tip-in by freshman Matthew Atewe. The put-back was Auburn's final field goal of the half as the Wildcats ended the half on a 5-0 run to lead 28-22 at the break.

Auburn (11-11, 3-8) used a 16-4 run midway through the second half to take its first and largest lead at 38-35 with 11:29 remaining on a dunk by Allen Payne.

After Atewe's layup gave the Tigers a 42-41 advantage with 7:57 to go, Kentucky answered with a 10-1 run to re-take the advantage culminating with a Julius Randle free throw and a 51-43 lead with 4:36 left.

Atewe had a solid night with a career-high 13 rebounds as he also tied his career highs in points (six) and blocks (four) in 29 minutes off the bench.

Andrew Harrison led the Wildcats with 16 points. Julius Randle had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Auburn is in action next on Saturday when it hosts Mississippi State. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. CT.