NCAA Men's Basketball

No. 5 Kentucky on roll ahead of visit to Alabama

Fifth-ranked Kentucky will look to extend its winning streak to four games when it visits Alabama in a Southeastern Conference game on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

While the Wildcats (18-4, 7-2 SEC) trail only league-leading No. 1 Auburn, the Crimson Tide (14-8, 4-5) are in the middle of the pack following a 100-81 loss at Auburn on Tuesday.

Kentucky is coming off a 77-70 win over visiting Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Davion Mintz tied a career high with 21 points off the bench, SEC Player of the Week Keion Brooks Jr. had 20 points and Kellan Grady had 12 points on 4-of-8 long-range shooting.

Oscar Tshiebwe posted 11 points and 17 boards for his 16th double-double in the Wildcats' 12th straight win over the Commodores.

"We'll get ready for a really good Alabama team," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "You're on the road, and I imagine it will be packed, like every game we play. Good news is we've walked into arenas like that. So we'll see. It's going to be a hard game for us."

Alabama trailed by 19 points in the first half against Auburn before cutting the lead to 57-55 following Jaden Shackelford's 3-pointer with 14:34 left. But Auburn went on a 13-2 run to take a 70-57 lead a little more than three minutes later.

Auburn's 100 points were eight more than the Crimson Tide have allowed in any game this season. Alabama was called for 30 fouls, which contributed to Auburn going 31-for-39 from the free-throw line. Alabama went 17-for-22.

"We've gotta learn how to guard without fouling," Alabama coach Nate Oats said. "We've just gotta get a little bit better. They're better than we are right now. We're gonna keep working, see if we can make some improvements before March."

Shackelford scored 26 points and Jahvon Quinerly added 20 for Alabama, which made 14 3-pointers but shot 35.7 percent (25-for-70) from the field overall.

While the Wildcats have won 11 of their past 13 games, which includes wins over then-No. 22 Tennessee and then-No. 5 Kansas, Alabama has been inconsistent all season.

While the Crimson Tide has some of the nation's best nonconference wins -- including victories over then-No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 14 Houston, No. 14 Tennessee and No. 4 Baylor -- Alabama also has lost to Georgia (6-16) and Missouri (8-13).

Shackelford averages a team-high 17.6 points to go along with 5.7 rebounds, with Quinerly averaging 14.8 points and a team-leading 4.3 assists. Keon Ellis adds 12 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.

Tshiebwe is having a fantastic season for the Wildcats, averaging team highs in points (16.1), steals (1.8) and blocks (1.5) to go along with a nation-leading 15.2 rebounds per game.

Four other Wildcats also average in double figures in scoring, including TyTy Washington (12.8), Grady (12.0) and Brooks (11.5). Sahvir Wheeler averages 10.5 points and 7.1 assists, which rank third in the country.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 4, 2022