Sun, 23 Jan 2022

Walker Kessler, No. 21 Auburn push aside UCF

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2021, 13:55 GMT+10

Big man Walker Kessler posted his third double-double in four games as No. 21 Auburn exacted some revenge on UCF on Wednesday, beating the visiting Knights 85-68.

The 7-foot-1 sophomore produced 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Kessler posted a career-high 14 rebounds, six blocks and two steals.

Jabari Smith notched a game-best 20 points with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. K.D. Johnson tallied 11 points.

The Tigers (6-1) were shocked by UCF last November in Orlando, dropping a 63-55 decision on the Knights' campus.

Auburn has recorded 37 straight nonconference home wins and five consecutive perfect seasons on its court in play outside the Southeastern Conference.

The Knights (4-2) got 18 points from Darius Perry on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 6-for-6 from the line. He added six rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Cheikh Mbacke Diong had 11 points, and C.J. Walker 10 to go with a team-high seven rebounds.

The Tigers started hot, making their first three field-goal attempts and getting a pair of treys from Devan Cambridge for an 8-4 edge inside the first two minutes, but Perry's layup capped a 7-0 run to tie it at 13 at 13:43.

UCF used its 1-2-2 press to force four turnovers and gain its first lead, going ahead on Isaiah Adams' two free throws for a 17-16 edge at 12:01.

With Smith having put up 10 points, Auburn owned a 39-36 halftime lead. The Tigers forced eight first-half turnovers and had five blocks and five steals while shooting 7 of 19 from long distance.

Perry and Mbacke Diong had 10 apiece before the break for the Knights, who outshot Auburn 43.3 percent to 40 percent from the field.

The SEC school pushed the lead to 55-46 on a stop-and-stutter layup by Wendell Green Jr. with 13:10 to play.

UCF missed 13 of 14 shots during one stretch and the Tigers extended their advantage by as many as 20 in the second half.

--Field Level Media

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