Kentucky, Arkansas Vie For SEC Tourney Crown
Kentucky rolls into the SEC Tournament title game on the strength of a 91-67 win over Auburn in the semifinals, meeting No. 21/20 Arkansas on Sunday, March 15. Tip is set for 1 p.m. ET and ESPN will carry the game.
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SEC Tournament Central
Kentucky vs. Arkansas
Sunday, March 15 - 1:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UA
Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via WatchESPN
This Week's News
- Kentucky advanced to its 39th SEC Tournament championship game with a decisive 91-67 victory over Auburn in the semifinals.
- UK improved to a remarkable 38-2 in SEC Tournament semifinal games.
- Kentucky has an all-time record of 123-25 (.831) in SEC Tournament games.
- UK has won 27 tourney titles with a 27-10 record in championship games.
- Auburn made the first basket, then UK responded with the next eight points.
- Kentucky also made runs of 7-0, 9-0 and 6-0 in building a 34-14 lead, its biggest advantage of the half.
- UK went to halftime ahead 47-29.
- AU pulled within 13 points (57-44) before UK put the game away with a 14-0 run, making it 71-44.
- Kentucky shot 56.3 percent from the field, the 10th game this season the Wildcats have made at least 50 percent.
- UK made 7 of 14 from behind the arc, the third game this season the Cats made at least half their long-distance shots.
- Kentucky shot 85.7 percent from the foul line (30 of 35).
- Thirty free throws made is a season high.
- The Wildcats have made 77.9 percent at the charity stripe over the last nine games.
- UK won bench points 26-5. UK has won bench points in every game this season.
- The Wildcats trailed for only 13 seconds and have trailed for only 178:56 of a possible 1,335 minutes this season.
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures, the first time that has happened since the previous game vs. Auburn on Feb. 21.
- Kentucky's 33-0 start to the season is the first in the history of the program, bettering the 1953-54 group's 25-0 start.
- The 33-game winning streak is the longest such streak in school history, surpassing the previous streak of 32 straight games set from Dec. 5, 1953 to Jan. 8, 1955.
- UK is the only team in SEC history to begin a season 33-0.
- The 33-0 start is the best of any John Calipari team he has ever coached.
- The 33 straight wins is the longest winning streak of Calipari's career, bettering his 2008-09 Memphis team's 27 consecutive wins.
- UK has won 55 of its last 57 games as the Associated Press top-ranked team.
- Calipari has a 99-9 all-time record when coaching the nation's No. 1 team, including a 58-4 mark at Kentucky.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 18 points, a game-high seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
- It is his first double-figure scoring game since Feb. 14 vs. South Carolina.
- It is his most points since a career-high 21 vs. Texas on Feb. 5.
- Andrew Harrison notched 15 points and added four assists. It is his 13th double-figure scoring game of the season.
- Aaron Harrison scored 12 points, his team-leading 20th double-figure game of the season.
- Trey Lyles scored 12 points, including 4 of 4 at the foul line. It is 10th time this season to land in double-figure scoring.
- Devin Booker tossed in 12 points, his 18th double- figure effort of the campaign. He also grabbed six rebounds, one shy of his career high.
Tyler Ulis totaled six points, five rebounds, a game-high six assists and two steals.
- He has averaged 3.9 assists over the last eight games, leading UK in that category in five of the last six games.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored eight points, netting career highs with 8 of 8 at the foul line.
- Towns has averaged 13.1 points over the last seven games.
- Playing for the second time in six days, Kentucky used two big second-half runs to earn its postseason-opening victory.
- Leading 33-31, Kentucky had a 9-0 surge - capped by two foul shots and a 3-pointer by Aaron Harrison - for a 42-31 advantage.
- After the Gators pulled with 50-45 with 7:40 to go, UK finished the game with a 14-4 run. Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles scores the first nine points of the decisive spurt, combining to make seven consecutive foul shots.
- Kentucky's 32-0 start to the season is the first in the history of the program, bettering the the 1953-54 group's 25-0 start.
- It ties the school record for the longest winning streak in program history. UK also won 32 straight games from Dec. 5, 1953 to Jan. 8, 1955.
- UK is the only team in SEC history to begin a season 32-0.
- Kentucky's 32-game winning streak is the second longest overall in school history.
- The streak is the longest over the course of a single season, besting the 1995-96 Wildcats.
- The 32-0 start is the best of any John Calipari team he has ever coached.
- The 32 straight wins is the longest winning streak of Calipari's career, bettering his 2008-09 Memphis team's 27 consecutive wins.
- UK has won 54 of its last 56 games as the Associated Press top-ranked team.
- Calipari has a 98-9 all-time record when coaching the nation's No. 1 team, including a 57-4 mark at Kentucky.
- UK held Florida to just 49 points, the 20th time the Wildcats have held an opponent this season to 55 points or less.
- Kentucky is 58-0 under Coach Calipari when holding the opposition to 55 points or less.
- Kentucky has won 27 SEC Tournament titles, exactly half of the 54 SEC Tournaments. With a quarterfinal win over Florida, the Wildcats are now 122-25 (.830) all-time in SEC Tournament games.
- UK defeated Florida twice during the regular season, 68-61 in Gainesville, Fla., and 67-50 in the regular- season finale in Lexington.
- The last time UK defeated Florida three times in a season was in 2012.
- The last time UK held Florida to 50 or fewer points in consecutive games was the 1949 and 1951 seasons.
- UK was behind for 8:50 today. The Wildcats have trailed for only 178:43 of a possible 1,295 minutes this season.
- Kentucky shot 82.6 percent from the foul line (19 of 23). The Wildcats have made 76.4 percent at the charity stripe over the last eight games.
- UK won points off turnovers, 15-4. UK has won or tied points off turnovers in every game this season.
- UK won bench points 13-11. UK has won bench points in every game this season.
- Towns had 13 points and 12 rebounds, marking his seventh double-double of the season, six of which have come against SEC opponents.
- Aaron Harrison tied Towns in leading UK with 13 points. UK's leading scorer for the season, he has tallied at least nine points in six straight games.
- Tyler Ulis played a career-high 32 minutes, totaling seven points, four assists and three steals.
- Kentucky's streak of 930 consecutive games with a 3-pointer was extended when Andrew Harrison swished a three at the 13:20 mark of the first half.
- On Senior Day, Kentucky pulled away from Florida in the second half to win 67-50 and finish the regular season a perfect 31-0.
- With the win, UK became the first program among the power five conferences to finish the regular season undefeated since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers.
- The victory also set a new UK home record at 19 wins.
- Kentucky's 31-0 start to the season is the first in the history of the program, bettering the the 1953-54 group's 25-0 start.
- UK is the only team in SEC history to begin a season 31-0.
- The Wildcats completed the conference season 18-0, the 15th time in program history they've made it through the SEC unscathed.
- Kentucky's 31-game winning streak is the second longest overall in school history.
- The streak is the longest over the course of a single season, besting the 1995-96 Wildcats.
- The 31-0 start is the best of any John Calipari team he has ever coached.
- The 31 straight wins is the longest winning streak of Calipari's career, bettering his 2008-09 Memphis team's 27 consecutive wins.
- UK has won 53 of its last 55 games as the Associated Press top-ranked team.
- Calipari has a 97-9 all-time record when coaching the nation's No. 1 team, including a 56-4 mark at Kentucky.
- Coach Cal honored his three senior walk-ons by rewarding them with their first career starts.
- UK held Florida to just 50 points, the 19th time the Wildcats have held an opponent this season to 55 points or less.
- Kentucky is 57-0 under Coach Calipari when holding the opposition to 55 points or less.
- UK outscored the Florida bench 46-13 and has won the battle of the benches in all 31 games this year.
- Ahead 44-41, UK got a 7-0 run for a 51-41 lead. UF got no closer than eight after that.
- Trey Lyles led the Wildcat with 14 points. He has averaged 11.3 ppg over the last seven games and has grabbed at least four rebounds in each game.
Karl-Anthony Towns had a fine all-around game with 13 points, a game-high nine rebounds, six blocked shots and three assists.
- Towns has averaged 14.2 points over the last five games.
- His six blocked shots was one shy of his career high of seven rejections.
- His three assists were one shy of his career best of four.
- Devin Booker scored six points with a pair of huge 3-pointers. With the game tied at 23, his 3-ball gave the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish. In the second half, ahead 44-41, his 3-pointer started a 7-0 run which put the Wildcats ahead by 10. The Gators got no closer than eight after that.
- Facing the largest second-half deficit of its so-far perfect season, No. 1 Kentucky clamped down defensively, ripped off a 14-0 run and put away pesky Georgia 72-64 on Tuesday night to remain unbeaten heading into the regular-season finale.
- Kentucky committed no turnovers in the first half and a season low three total for the game, the fewest in the Calipari era.
- Kentucky's three assists in the first half were its fewest in a first half this year.
- Kentucky scored 18 points off turnovers, compared with four from UGA.
- Georgia had 11 turnovers, compared with three by UK - all of which came in the second half.
- Georgia did not have a steal; UK had four.
- UK won the bench points 19-15. UK has won bench points in every game this season.
- Aaron Harrison scored Kentucky's first nine points of the second half, after having played six minutes in the first half due to picking up two fouls.
- After trailing by nine at the 9:12 mark in the second half, Kentucky went 7 of 9 from field-goal range.
- After Georgia took a 62-56 lead with 5:36 left to play, UK closed the game on a 16-2 run.
- The Wildcats took a 65-62 lead at the 2:53 mark in the second half, UK's first lead in 12 minutes. UK never trailed after that.
- Kentucky's largest lead of the game was the final score, with UK ahead by eight.
- Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns led all scorers with a career-high tying 19 points.
- He scored 17 points after halftime.
- Aaron and Andrew Harrison combined for 28 points and were the only other players besides Towns to reach double-figures.
- Kentucky raked in the SEC awards for the 2014-15 season, winning four of the six major awards the league's coaches vote on.
John Calipari was tabbed SEC Coach of the Year, junior forward Willie Cauely-Stein was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, forward Karl-Anthony Towns won SEC Freshman of the Year and freshman guard Devin Booker captured Sixth Man of the Year honors.
- UK has won SEC Freshman of the Year all six seasons of the Calipari era.
- It's the third time in the last four seasons UK has won SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
- Kentucky has captured SEC Sixth Man of the Year three times in the last four years.
- Coach Cal won SEC Coach of the Year for the second time in his six years in the league and was awarded conference coach of the year for the eighth time in his career.
- Cauley-Stein and Towns were tabbed First Team All-SEC while Booker and sophomore guard Aaron Harrison made the All-SEC Second Team.
- All four UK freshmen -- Towns, Booker, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis -- made the SEC All-Freshman Team.
- Sophomore forward Marcus Lee made the SEC Community Service Team for his contributions off the basketball court.
- Lee was the treasurer of UK's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee NCAA, having coordinated the athletics department's blanket project where Kentucky student-athletes made blankets for UK Children's Hospital patients.
- He has also been actively involved in UK's backpack program with God's Pantry, filling backpacks with food supplies and delivering them to local elementary schools.
UK Dominates USBWA All-District Awards
- The U.S. Basketball Writers Association named Willie Cauley-Stein its District IV Player of the Year and John Caliapri District IV Coach of the Year.
- Four of the 10 players on the All-District IV Team -- Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison -- were from Kentucky.
- District IV consists of players from the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
- Voting is based on its membership of 900-plus.
The Awards Keep Coming
- Kentucky won several of the major awards from various publications this week:
- Sporting News named Willie Cauley-Stein a First Team All-American and Karl-Anthony Towns a Second Team All-American.
- In addition to the All-America teams, Sporting News also named John Calipari its Coach of the Year.
- NBC Sports selected Cauley-Stein as its National Defensive Player of the Year and Calipari its Coach of the Year.
- NBC Sports also tabbed Cauley-Stein to its First Team All-America team.
- Karl-Anthony Towns was named SEC Player of the Week after leading top-ranked Kentucky to two wins, which propelled the Wildcats to completing the regular season 31-0.
- Towns is the first Wildcat to earn SEC Player of the Week this season.
- The freshman forward has earned SEC Freshman of the Week three times this season.
- Kentucky hauled in 11 SEC Freshman of the Week accolades from a possible 17 weeks this season.
- Towns was also named ESPN National Player of the Week for his performances last week.
- For the week, Towns averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 2.0 assists.
- Kentucky standout junior Willie Cauley-Stein is one of 15 finalists on the 2015 John R. Wooden Award.
- Voting will begin on March 16 and end on March 23. Fan voting will be taken into consideration. Fans can vote at woodenawardvote.com.
- The 39th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor and reveal the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners. This announcement of the winners will be televised live on ESPN2 from Club Nokia in Los Angeles at 5 p.m. on Friday April 10 as part of the new "College Basketball Awards Show."
- Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein is one of five finalists for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award
- Cauley-Stein joins Bobby Portis of Arkansas, Jahlil Okafor from Duke, Rakeem Christmas of Syracuse and Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky in the final five for the award
- The winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Hall of Fame's selection committees. Fans can vote now through March 18 at HoophallAwards.comfor the top position players.
- The winners of the inaugural awards will be awarded April 10 at ESPN's new "College Basketball Awards" from Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The awards show will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.
SEC Alerts Fans of Counterfeit Tickets
Nashville, Tenn. - Tickets for Sunday's SEC Men's Basketball Championship game in Bridgestone Arena between Kentucky and Arkansas are sold out, prompting many fans to seek tickets through the secondary market.
The Southeastern Conference reminds fans to beware of possible counterfeit or stolen tickets. Any individual in possession of a counterfeit or stolen ticket will be denied access into the game.
There are a few safety features to look for when purchasing tickets on the secondary market. Fans are advised to look for the authentic SEC holographic foil located across the ticket. Within the foil, several SEC circle logos and the words "Southeastern Conference" should appear and disappear when rotating the ticket back and forth. Also, the words "Void if Detached From Stub" should NOT appear as all capital letters on the bottom right of the ticket.
Another important note is that there will be no PDF, electronic or mobile tickets accepted at the SEC Men's Basketball Championship.
"We advise fans to be attentive to the appearance of the tickets they are purchasing," said Jim Sullivan, Director of Championship Ticket Operations. "It is important to pay close attention to the details of the holographic foil as well as the texture of the ticket."
The SEC and Bridgestone Arena will make available Ticket Validations at the "Customer Service Window" at the main box office of Bridgestone Arena beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the game. The authenticity of the ticket can be confirmed by a box office representative. The Ticket Validation Window is the only way to completely and accurately ensure the authenticity of a ticket.
The SEC Men's Basketball Championship Game tips off at Noon CT on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.