KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WKYT) - Bruce Pearl and his Auburn Tigers are heading to the Final Four.
Auburn's Samir Doughty (10) and Kentucky's Keldon Johnson collide during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Two days after losing starting forward Chuma Okeke to a major knee injury, the fifth-seeded Tigers beat second-seeded Kentucky 77-71 in overtime in the NCAA Midwest Region final.
Auburn (30-9) overcame PJ Washington's 28 points and 13 rebounds, foul trouble and a slow start to punch its ticket to Minneapolis for its first appearance in the Final Four. The Tigers play No. 1 seed Virginia in a national semifinal Saturday.
Jared Harper had 12 of his 26 points in overtime, and Bryce Brown scored 17 of his 24 points after halftime to lead the Tigers' comeback.
Auburn had opened the game missing 8 of its first 9 3-pointers and trailed by 11 at the midway point of the half. Kentucky finished the season 30-7.
Kentucky and Auburn are going into overtime after both teams were unable to break a 60-60 tie in the final 30 seconds of the game.
The Wildcats were able to tie the game up in the final minutes after trailing most of the second half.
Kentucky trails by two going into the final media timeout with possession. The Wildcats have trailed for most of the second half, but Auburn was never able to push the lead out further than six.
Kentucky continues to struggle from beyond the arc going 4-18 shooting from three-point range.
Bryce Brown is stealing the show in the second half, as his 22 points have given Auburn its biggest lead of the game. Brown is now 4-7 shooting from beyond the arc, and it has given Auburn a 54-50 lead.
A spectacular PJ Washington alley-oop helped give Kentucky the lead once again in what's becoming a back-and-forth Elite Eight battle.
Montgomery would add a free throw in a later possession to give Kentucky a 46-44 lead. Auburn would once again take the lead before the under 12-minute media timeout on a three-pointer.
The Auburn Tigers have their first lead of the game after a 12-4 run which included eight straight points by Bryce Brown.
Auburn has a 42-39 lead with less than 16 minutes remaining in the game. Auburn made only three three-pointers in the first half, but the Tigers were able to get a jolt after Brown's first two of the half went in.
PJ Washington is leading the Kentucky Wildcats with 15 first-half points, but Auburn was able to cut into the deficit to five going into halftime.
Kentucky had a double-digit lead near the halfway point of the first half, but the slow-shooting Tigers were able to heat up a little just before halftime. Auburn narrowed Kentucky's lead to two points, but a late Ashton Hagans three-pointer stretched the lead out to 35-30.
Jared Harper leads Auburn in scoring with eight points.
Auburn's sluggish shooting start has allowed Kentucky to extend its lead more than halfway through the first half. Auburn is shooting under 30 percent from the floor while only making one three-pointer.
Kentucky's frontcourt is leading the way against Auburn, who is playing without Chuma Okeke after he tore his ACL in the team's Sweet 16 victory against North Carolina.
Kentucky leads 22-13 with 7:53 remaining.
The Kentucky Wildcats got off to a hot start in the beginning of its Elite Eight matchup against Auburn.
Kentucky took an early 9-3 lead thanks to an early 5 points from Reid Travis.
Auburn, who relies heavily on its three-point shooting, got off to a 1-6 start from beyond the arc.