AUBURN, Ala. — Blair Green scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and No. 12 Kentucky held off Auburn 76-71 on Thursday night.
Rhyne Howard added 14 points for the Wildcats (11-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) after missing the last game, when Green had a career-high 22 points, with an ankle injury. Dre’Una Edwards and Robyn Benton, who just returned from coronavirus protocol, had 10 apiece.
Unique Thompson scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half, 13 in the fourth quarter, to keep Auburn (5-8, 0-5) in the game and had 10 rebounds, five below her nation-leading average. Jala Jordan added 11 points and Honesty Scott-Grayson 10.
Nine different Wildcats scored in the first half and built a 40-32 lead. Auburn was 11 of 31 (35.5%) from the field.
Green sandwich a pair of jumpers around an Edwards basket inside to put Kentucky up 52-38 in the middle of the third quarter but the Tigers kept battling back.
Down nine going into the fourth quarter, they trailed by as many as 12 in the fourth but Thompson took over. Her three-point play and layup inside the two-minute mark cut the deficit to 72-67. After Kentucky missed two free throws, the Tigers missed two shots before Green made a pair of free throws with 23.7 seconds to play. Howard countered a Thompson layup with two from the line at 14.8 seconds to ice it.
The Wildcats play at No. 25 Tennessee on Sunday in a game rescheduled from Jan. 3. Auburn is home against Alabama.