'Cats back on track with win
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
AUBURN, Ala. - Joe Crawford had 23 points and nine rebounds and Kentucky coasted to its third consecutive victory Tuesday night, beating Auburn 71-62.
The Wildcats (13-6, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) led by as many as 18 points late in the second half, holding the Tigers off with stingy defense and foul shooting.
Kentucky has won 21 of the last 22 meetings and continues to roll after ending a three-game losing streak and starting 0-2 in the league.
The Tigers (8-8, 0-5) managed their highest scoring total in an SEC game but remained winless in the league.
Crawford made 9-of-11 free throws and 4-of-6 3-pointers. Rondo finished with 12 points and eight boards as Kentucky's backcourt dominated the boards. Forward Randolph Morris had eight points and no rebounds in 14 minutes, picking up his fourth foul with 9:07 left.
Quantez Robertson led four double-figure scorers for Auburn with 14 points and five assists. Ronny LeMelle added 13 points, Rasheem Barrett 12 and Frank Tolbert 11 for the Tigers.
The Wildcats overcame their poor shooting - including 1-of-11 in 3-pointers in the second half - with repeated trips to the line. They made 17-of-24 free throws after halftime as Auburn resorted to fouling to try to slow down Crawford & Co.
Kentucky shot just 30 percent from the floor in the second half after hitting 56 percent overall in each of its past two games.
Rondo scored eight points in a 10-0 run - all on drives to the basket - after the Tigers hit three consecutive 3-pointers to cut it to 51-45.
Then Auburn managed just one more field goal over a stretch of nearly seven minutes.
Randy Foye scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half and visiting Villanova overcame horrendous shooting and the absence of second-leading scorer Allan Ray to beat South Florida.
Darrel Owens and Roy Hibbert each scored 18 points and visiting Georgetown followed its upset of top-ranked Duke with the double-overtime victory.
The Hoyas (13-4, 4-2 Big East) seemed to have the game won in regulation. But Brandon Bowman fouled Colin Falls as he hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left and he completed the four-point play to tie the game at 69.
Chris Quinn had 26 points and 10 assists for the Irish (10-7, 1-5), who are off to their worst Big East start since opening 1-5 in 1996-97.
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