AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The Auburn Tigers were hammered on the boards and couldn’t hold on after keeping it close most of the way.
Chris Denson scored 26 points, 17 in the second half, but the Tigers still fell 64-56 to No. 14 Kentucky on Wednesday night.
It was a familiar feeling for Denson and the Tigers (11-11, 3-8 Southeastern Conference), who have lost two straight since a three-game winning streak.
“Like all the games we’ve lost, we lost in the trenches, or rebounding,” Denson said. “We (gave) up too many offensive rebounds. We didn’t make plays down the stretch.
“We were up by three and we were conservative trying to hold the lead, and we can’t do that with a good team like Kentucky.”
Andrew Harrison scored 16 points for Kentucky (19-5, 9-2), which won its fourth consecutive game despite making just 17 of 55 shots (30.8 percent).
The Wildcats made 9 of 12 free throws over the final 2 minutes to put away from the Tigers while scoring 16 points below their season average.
Julius Randle had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Kentucky, which held a commanding 49-36 advantage in rebounding. Aaron Harrison scored 10 points.
Auburn’s KT Harrell was 2-of-15 shooting and missed all seven 3-point attempts to finish with seven points, 12 below his average.
Harrell had made at least one 3-pointer in every game coming in.
Shot-blocking center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum fouled out after playing just 12 minutes, failing to score and managing two rebounds.
The Tigers had just two assists and shot 32.7 percent (18 of 55).
“They made winning plays when the game mattered,” Tigers coach Tony Barbee said of Kentucky. “With 10 minutes to go in the game, we had a three-point lead and from that point forward they made the majority of the winning plays.
“That’s what this game comes down to.”
Auburn has dropped two straight since a three-game winning streak.