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Auburn Finally Beats Kentucky


So this is how No. 4 Auburn responds to adversity.

Criticized by Georgia coach Jim Harrick last week, Doc Robinson and Scott Pohlman responded with two of the biggest plays of their careers Tuesday night.

Robinson hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds to play and Pohlman added two free throws to help the Tigers snap a 14-game losing streak against Kentucky with a 66-63 win over the 20th-ranked Wildcats.

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  • "Say anything you want, but just don't take shots at my players," Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said. "There's been some shots at them, but I think they answered them tonight."

    Harrick, when asked Saturday if Auburn (14-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) has what it takes to win a national championship, said he didn't know because a team "needs outstanding guard play to make a run in the NCAA tournament."

    Pohlman and Robinson, who have helped Auburn to a 43-5 mark when both are in the starting lineup, said they didn't give Harrick's comments a second thought.

    "It didn't bother me at all," said Robinson, who finished with 18 points, nine assists and just one turnover. "I never gave that stuff a second thought."

    Said Pohlman: "People have been saying stuff like that all my life, if I listened, I wouldn't be here today."

    It was Auburn's first victory over Kentucky (10-5, 1-1) since 1990 and snapped the Wildcats' six-game winning streak.

    The Auburn fans then stormed the court in celebration, making it impossible for the players to leave the floor.

    "It was an excellent win for us and it feels good, but it's just one of 16 conference games," Ellis said.

    With the score tied at 59 with 2:36 to play, Chris Porter gave the Tigers their first lead since the 11:09 mark on a tip-in. Two free throws by Jamaal Magliore tied it at 61 with 1:12 to play.

    The Tigers had a chance to take the lead, but David Hamiton missed two free throws. Daymeon Fishback got the rebound, which was knocked out of bounds by Keith Bogans, giving the Tigers the ball with 42.9 to play.

    Robinson then broke free on a screen hit and hit an off-balance 3-pointer to give Auburn a 64-61 lead.

    "Big players make big plays," Ellis said. "Doc, I've always said, is probably the most underrated guard in America."

    Tayshaun Prince then missed a 3 at the other end, but Bogans got the rebound, drew a foul and made two free throws to make it 64-63 with 13.3 to play.

    "We couldn't get the shots we needed to go in," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "You don't get everything you want."

    Pohlman, a 77 percent free throw shooter, got the inbound pass and was fouled. He calmly sank both shots.

    Kentucky then missed two shots at the other end as time expired.

    "We played a great game and executed well, but they just kept making the shots when they had to," Blevins said.

    Porter, who scored 12 and 16 points in Auburn's two losses to Kentucky last year, finished with a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds.

    Magliore led Kentucky with 16 points and Prince finished with 15.

    Kentucky, which trailed by 14 in the first half and 36-28 at the break, quickly closed the gap in the second half.

    Prince led a 21-11 run with seven quick points, and the Wildcats made it 48-47 with 12:35 to play on Desmond Allison's tip-in.

    After an Auburn miss, Kentucky took its first lead since 5-4 in the first half on Bogans' jumper. That made it 49-48 with 12:07 to play.

    The Wildcats stretched their lead to 55-50 with 8:21 to play as Auburn missed five straight shots. Jules Camara got the rebound on his own miss and connected on a 12-foot jumper, Prince hit a layup and Camara made another jumper.

    "We made a gallant effort to come back, but we couldn't sustain the drive," Smith said. "It was a great game, though."

    Auburn was able to cut the score to 55-54 on two tip-ins by Porter, but Porter landed hard on his shoulder after the second one and left the game with 6:27 to play.

    He returned at the 5:15 mark to a deafening chant of "Porter! Porter!" and sparked the Tigers with two huge defensive rebounds, setting the stage for Auburn's victory.

    "I just banged my arm really hard, but I wasn't going to let it keep me out of the game," Porter said. "This win is very satisfying."

    Robinson, who opened the game seemingly out to prove Harrick wrong, equaled his scoring average in the first half with 10 points and made all five of his shots. He finished 8-of-11 and had nine rebounds.

    Fishback finished with 17 points, including three first-half 3-pointers.

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