Auburn defeats Kentucky 77-71

(Photo: Auburn Basketball, Twitter)

Auburn defeated Kentucky for a nip-and-tuck finish for a spot in the Final Four.

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 trailed Kentucky 37-32 in the opening minutes of the second half but quickly picked up speed.

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.

Kentucky and Auburn headed into overtime tied at 60 in their Midwest Region finale. 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.

Kentucky finished the season 30-7.

Auburn gets a date with No. 1 seed Virginia in the national semifinals in Minneapolis on Saturday.

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