Monk helps No. 6 Kentucky beat Auburn 92-72 (Jan 14, 2017)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) No. 6 Kentucky found a way to overcome a little foul trouble in its fifth straight win.
A solid performance from long range provided a nice lift.
Malik Monk made four of Kentucky's 11 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, leading the Wildcats to a 92-72 victory against Auburn on Saturday.
The balanced Wildcats (15-2, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) shot a season-high 57 percent from the field and placed five players in double figures. Edrice ''Bam'' Adebayo had 15 points, and De'Aaron Fox finished with 13.
The physical matchup included 49 fouls between the two teams, with Fox fouling out with 7:23 remaining. Kentucky connected on just 17 of 32 free throws, compared to 5 for 15 at the line for Auburn.
Kentucky senior Mychal Mulder said the Wildcats pulled together to help ease the departure of their starting point guard.
''In that time of the game, it is just time to win,'' Mulder said. ''We lose De'Aaron and it's something that we are going to have to deal with once in a while.''
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the foul issue was because of his team's undisciplined play on defense, especially in the first half.
''Now you know why I do not put guys in in the first half with two fouls. You can't end the game without guards,'' Calipari said. ''If you want to foul and be undisciplined with the kind of fouls you're making where you're pushing up and body-checking guys, you can't be in the game.''
T.J. Dunans led Auburn (11-6, 1-4) with 23 points, and Mustapha Heron had 11.
''We fouled them too much,'' Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said. ''They got in the bonus in the second half. It was going to be very difficult to win that game no matter how close we got it in the second half. You can't miss 10 free throws and expect to make a run and put a score into them.''
Kentucky was coming off an 87-81 win at Vanderbilt that included an uncharacteristically poor performance from beyond the arc, with the Wildcats making just one of their nine 3-point attempts.
They were much better against the Tigers.
Kentucky made eight 3s on its way to a 51-39 lead at the break. The Wildcats finished with 11 3-pointers in 19 attempts.
''We shot pretty well,'' Mulder said. ''We want to see each other shoot the ball well every day. With the work we put in, we expect to reap the rewards from that.''
Mulder had 12 points for Kentucky, and Isaiah Briscoe finished with 10. Wenyan Gabriel grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds and finished with six points.
Kentucky: The Wildcats have made more than 50 percent of their shots in their first five SEC games for the first time since the 1987-88 season.
Auburn: The Tigers forced nine lead changes in the first five minutes, but couldn't keep up with the Wildcats. Auburn has dropped 19 of its last 20 games against Kentucky.
Hamidou Diallo, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, enrolled at Kentucky on Wednesday and practiced with the Wildcats on Friday. He sat on the bench Saturday, but wasn't in uniform and doesn't expect to play this season.
''I wouldn't do it for the program or me,'' Calipari said. ''The only way that would happen would be if it were in his best interest. He needs to get squared away, get his base set, and come back and do his thing. That would be my recommendation if you ask me.''
Kentucky has been No. 6 for the past two weeks, but there could be movement in the poll following No. 1 Baylor's 89-68 loss to West Virginia.
Auburn: Hosts LSU on Wednesday.
Kentucky: Visits Mississippi State on Tuesday.