The pace of the game was slowed to the speed of smell. The only thing keeping fans on either side awake were the referees’ whistles. Then, things got scary.
With 7:24 left in the game, De’Aaron Fox picked up his fifth foul. Despite his protests, Fox’s block was legitimate. Kentucky’s lead was cut to just eight and they were forced to finish without their starting point guard, who accounted for 13 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
The Cats were ready to respond.
“We had to pick up the energy because we lost a very important player,” Bam Adebayo said after the game. “The team came together and we played even harder because we had to make up for the what we were losing defensively and offensively.”
A lot of that energy can be attributed to Mychal Mulder. Entering the game shortly after Fox fouled out, Mulder had 9 points, an assist and a rebound in the final six minutes.
“In that time of the game, it is just time to win,” Mychal Mulder said after the game. “We lose De’Aaron to five fouls and that is something that we are going to have to deal with once in awhile. But, you know, we still have a lot of guys and guards who create plays and finish at the rim and play hard defense. So, you know, it was winning time from there on out and we just tried to push the lead as much as we could.”
Once Fox was finished, a.k.a. winning time, Kentucky outscored Auburn 19-7. Auburn’s last field goal was a three-pointer with 4:28 remaining. They didn’t score another point before the final horn.