Rapid Reaction: Auburn needs OT, but advances to first Final Four in school history with dramatic win
Heading into Sunday, we knew one SEC team was going to advance to the Final Four. We just didn’t know whether Auburn would continue its magic run or whether Kentucky would advance to Minneapolis on the strength of its defense.
Neither team disappointed, as fans across the country were treated to another intense battle between two talented squads. Auburn was without talented F Chuma Okeke, but he made it to the Sprint Center to watch the second half from behind his team’s bench.
With two minutes remaining in the game, it was tied at 58-58, which led to an incredible finish. Auburn’s Bryce Brown and Kentucky’s PJ Washington were absolutely dominant in this one, both scoring over 20 points for their teams, but neither squad had the edge after the first 40 minutes.
Washington put the Wildcats up 60-58 with just under a minute left, but Jared Harper answered back to tie it at 60-60 with 30 seconds left. Horace Spencer got a good look from three-point range to win it for Auburn, but missed, so it went to overtime, where Auburn eventually pulled away for a 77-71 victory.
Anfernee McLemore scored four-straight points in overtime, and if you needed any visual evidence as to just how magical this season has been for the Tigers, check out the roll on this shot:
This shot could only happen in March. pic.twitter.com/tcSO15XAWJ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 31, 2019
Harper also came up huge in overtime, making a number of incredible shots and clutch free throws down the stretch, finishing with 26 points for the Tigers, going 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. Brown also finished with 24 points for the Tigers. Washington finished with a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Wildcats in what will likely be his final game in a Kentucky uniform.
Now, the Tigers advance to Minneapolis with a chance to make it to the national championship game. All that stands in their way and a shot at the title is a stingy Virginia team — the second No. 1 seed the Tigers will face.