Aspirations for March fell with a Saturday meeting in Rupp Arena.
With an 80-53 loss to No. 4 Kentucky, Auburn can now only finish as high as fourth in the conference with the final two weeks of the regular season remaining. Head coach Bruce Pearl's squad will meet with Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and current fifth-ranked Tennessee before heading into tournament play.
And looking ahead begins with a 27-point rout by the Wildcats.
"It was a domination," Pearl said on the radio following the loss. "It was very, very impressive. And the disappointing part was, I thought we could come in here and win."
Kentucky's P.J. Washington led all scorers with 24 points to complement 17 and 14 points by Tyler Herro and Ashton Hagans, respectively. Washington scored 11 of the first 16 points by the Wildcats.
Even after Auburn would go on a 14-2 run to come with seven after being down 19, Kentucky finished the first half by scoring seven straight to go into halftime with a 14-point lead.
Domination would continue as Kentucky opened up the second half with 11 straight unanswered points, pushing up to the team's largest lead of 33 points.
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"It's embarrassing," Pearl said. "There's no way you can't not look back and say 'we got embarrassed.' We were humbled, not ready for primetime. I'll put that on myself."
Chuma Okeke finished with a team-high 14 points as Jared Harper and Anfernee McLemore added 12 and 10, respectively. With Harper failing to tally an assist on the game, Auburn also fell behind in 3-point shooting while going 4-for-14 beyond the arc in the second half.
Partnered with its shooting display, Auburn was also outrebounded 43 to 24, including 34 to 16 on the defensive glass.
After traveling to play Georgia on Wednesday, Auburn returns home to play Mississippi State before heading to Tuscaloosa, and then finishes the season at home against Tennessee.
Looking ahead, after coming off of a 23-point win over Arkansas earlier in the week, Pearl looks for a loss to Kentucky to not snowball into March.
“Now, the key is, don’t turn into two or three losses,” Pearl said.
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