Auburn stuns again, topples Kentucky shorthanded to advance to 1st Final Four

Auburn has slain another giant. And this time it punched the program’s first ticket to the Final Four.

Two days after stunning top-seed North Carolina in the Sweet 16, the Tigers toppled No. 2 seed Kentucky Sunday as their best player watched from the sideline in a wheelchair with a torn ACL.

Bryce Brown picked up the slack and then some for an injured Chuma Okeke, willing the Tigers to the Final Four with a 77-71 win over Kentucky.

Auburn came into the game at a significant disadvantage, down its best player in NBA prospect Okeke, who suffered a torn left ACL in the second half of Friday’s win over North Carolina.

See photos from the game: 

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No. 5 Auburn shocks No. 2 Kentucky in overtime
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No. 5 Auburn shocks No. 2 Kentucky in overtime
Auburn's Anfernee McLemore (24) reaches for a rebound between Kentucky's PJ Washington (25), Keldon Johnson and Ashton Hagans (2) during overtime of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. Auburn won 77-71 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Malik Dunbar celebrates after Auburn beat Kentucky in the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. Auburn won 77-71 in overtime. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kentucky's Ashton Hagans (2) and Keldon Johnson (3) walk to the bench after losing to Auburn in the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. Auburn won 77-71 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kentucky's Tyler Herro reacts as time expires in overtime during the Midwest Regional final game against Auburn in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. Auburn won 77-71 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Jared Harper dives after a loose ball during overtime of the Midwest Regional final game against Kentucky in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Bryce Brown celebrates during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game against Kentucky in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) shoots over Auburn's Anfernee McLemore (24) during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Bryce Brown (2) celebrates during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game against Kentucky in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kentucky's PJ Washington (25) shoots during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game against Auburn in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: Bryce Brown #2 of the Auburn Tigers loses the ball against PJ Washington #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: Danjel Purifoy #3 of the Auburn Tigers reacts to a play against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: The Auburn Tigers celebrate defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 77-71 in overtime during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Where many expected a blowout thanks to the Okeke injury, the Tigers had other ideas. Kentucky got off to a hot start, opening a 22-13 lead in what looked like the start of the lopsided result predicted.

But as they did against the Tar Heels, the Tigers got hot late in the first half to keep the game manageable with a 35-30 deficit. Also like they did against the Tar Heels, they stayed hot in the second half and went on a tear to take the lead.

Brown’s 3-pointer at the 17:47 mark of the second half capped a 10-0 Auburn run to take a 40-37 lead that ensured the Wildcats were in for a battle.

See more from the Elite Eight: 

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March Madness 2019: The best photos from the Elite Eight
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March Madness 2019: The best photos from the Elite Eight
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Nick Ward #44 and Kenny Goins #25 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate their teams 68-67 win over the Duke Blue Devils in the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Tre Jones #3 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after his teams 68-67 loss to the Michigan State Spartans in the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, right, celebrates with teammates Matt McQuaid (20), Nick Ward (44) and Gabe Brown (13) after defeating Duke in an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Auburn's Anfernee McLemore, left, blocks a shot by Kentucky's PJ Washington during the second half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's College basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Brandon Clarke #15 and Rui Hachimura #21 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs compete for the ball against Norense Odiase #32 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Davide Moretti #25 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders fights for the ball against Josh Perkins #13 and Jeremy Jones #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Tariq Owens #11 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 30: De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers battles for a loose ball with Grady Eifert #24 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 30, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 30: Mamadi Diakite #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates after making a game-tying shot over Matt Haarms #32 of the Purdue Boilermakers to extend the game to overtime as time expires in the second half of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 30, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: Ashton Hagans #2 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during the first half against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 31: PJ Washington #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats passes the ball against Austin Wiley #50 and Danjel Purifoy #3 of the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 31, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Auburn's Jared Harper, left, drives to the basket past Kentucky's Reid Travis during the first half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Anfernee McLemore (24) and Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) reach for a rebound during the first half of the Midwest Regional final game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett celebrates after defeating Purdue 80-75 in overtime of the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Purdue's Trevion Williams (50) puts up a shot against Virginia's Jack Salt (33) during the second half of the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Virginia's De'Andre Hunter dribbles past Purdue's Grady Eifert (24) during the first half of the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura scores against Texas Tech during the first half of a men's NCAA Tournament college basketball West Regional final game Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Texas Tech celebrates after the team scored against Gonzaga during the second half of the West Regional final in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Virginia's Mamadi Diakite, center, reacts with teammates Kyle Guy and Jack Salt (33) after hitting a shot to send the game into overtime in the men's NCAA Tournament college basketball South Regional final game against Purdue, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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A battle it was as Brown and Kentucky star PJ Washington traded blows down the stretch before Auburn had a chance to win in regulation with a final shot. But Horace Spencer’s contested 3-pointer missed the mark sending the game into the extra session tied at 60-60.

Overtime belonged to Auburn. The Tigers opened up their biggest lead of the game at 68-62 and fended off the Wildcats from there to make program history.

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