Auburn Defense To Be Tested by Kentucky
Jan. 11, 2000
LEXINGTON, Kty. (AP) - Kentucky knows it will have to be ready when the 20th-ranked Wildcats travel to Auburn to take on the fourth-ranked Tigers on Tuesday night in a Southeastern Conference matchup.
The Wildcats (10-4, 1-0) have won six straight since losing four of five and temporarily dropping from the Top 25 for the first time in nine years. On Saturday, they rolled Vanderbilt, 72-52, setting the stage for what could very well be a preview of the SEC title game.
"I think a lot will be learned from this game about our team," said J.P. Blevins. "It will give us a chance to see where we stand. We have won six in a row and are feeling good, but this is a big game."
The Tigers (13-1, 1-0) have won 11 straight games by playing excellent defense. Auburn is holding its opponents to just 56.2 points per contest.
"Defense has been our strength during all of our games," said Scott Pohlman, who scored a team-high 14 points in a 67-52 victory over Georgia on Saturday. "When our offense doesn't click our defense always does."
The Tigers aren't blowing teams out as much as last year, but they are limiting opponents to just 37 percent shooting from the field, have outrebounded the opposition by a little more than nine per game, have forced 84 more turnovers and have 65 more steals.
"We have to give a lot of credit to our defense," Ellis said. "We forced 27 turnovers (against Georgia). I was proud of the effort our team gave."
Center Mamadou N'diaye had 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds while 6-foot-5 guard Daymeon Fishback completely shut down Georgia go-to guy D.A. Layne, who scored 12 points, but turned the ball over eight times.
"Mamadou (N'Diaye) did a great job being active on both ends of the court," Ellis said. "His play was vital to our team's victory.
"The job I was most proud of though was Daymeon Fishback on D.A. Layne," Ellis added. "I think this was the best basketball game he has played as an Auburn Tiger."