Auburn guard Kareem Canty (1) celebrates after beating Kentucky 75-70 after an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson
January 16, 2016

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Bruce Pearl and his two star transfers came to Auburn hoping to deliver some big wins.

They easily got their biggest together Saturday.

Kareem Canty scored 26 points, including two free throws with 20 seconds left, and Tyler Harris had 21 to lift Auburn to a 75-70 upset of No. 14 Kentucky.

The Tigers (8-8, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) wiped out a 12-point second-half deficit to snap an 18-game losing streak to the Wildcats (13-4, 3-2). Auburn's only win in the last 33 meetings had come in 2000, and students stormed the court to celebrate the upset.

''I'm happy for our students because I have not been able to provide that return on investment yet,'' said Pearl, in his second season with a program that has been among the SEC's worst. ''When they see moments like that, they say, `OK, our basketball program is competing in spite of injuries and challenges.' It took special effort, but I wanted to be able to see that special celebration.

''I didn't want to be in the middle of it because I got killed but I wanted to watch it and I wanted to see those guys enjoy themselves.''

Canty, a transfer from Marshall, had 21 second-half points. Harris is a graduate transfer from Providence who collected 11 rebounds and made two free throws in the final minute.

Kentucky's Jamal Murray made a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and Canty missed two free throws to give Kentucky hope.

Tyler Ulis, who scored 17 points, missed a 3-point attempt at the other end that would have kept Kentucky alive. The 5-foot-9 Ulis had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Murray scored 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting.

It's hardly panic time for Kentucky and coach John Calipari, as usual trying to nurture a young team through the season. He could still shake up the lineup some, saying he's got ''a couple of other guys no-showing us.''

''It's January. We're fine,'' Calipari said. ''I'm not worried about it. I just want to make some changes to see if guys will respond and fight. If you don't deserve the minutes, let someone else play.''

Canty drove for a tying layup with 1:32 left and was fouled by Ulis. The Harlem, New York product came up favoring his right leg but hit the free throw to give Auburn the lead for good.

''Growing up where I come from, there's two things you dream about, playing for Kentucky or Duke or having a chance to play against them,'' Canty said. ''My whole family was watching. The whole world was watching.''

Harris rebounded a missed shot and hit two more from the free throw line with 34 seconds to push it to 72-67. He then grabbed the ball after Ulis missed on a drive.

Harris rebounded in a big way from a 4-of-13 performance in an 18-point loss to Vanderbilt, apologizing to Pearl afterward.

''This is the reason why he came,'' Pearl said, ''and he delivered.''

Auburn had rallied from a 47-35 deficit with a 21-4 run punctuated by 3-pointers by Canty and the 6-foot-10 Harris, taking a 56-51 lead midway through the half. Harris made all three of his 3-point attempts.

Auburn, which has lost key guards Tahj Shamsid-Deen and T.J. Dunans to injuries, hit 12 3-pointers, five by Canty. The Tigers were 6 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second half to spearhead the comeback.

They had dropped 15 straight games against ranked opponents, since a win over No. 23 Mississippi State on Feb. 18, 2012.

Derek Willis added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Kentucky, which made 25 of 72 shots (34.7 percent).

The only other bench points for the Wildcats came from Skal Labissiere, who scored four points but also drew a technical foul.

''I thought we'd come out ready to play, but we didn't,'' Ulis said. ''I'm very surprised. There's no way we should have lost that game, and we did.''

BARBEE RECRUITING

Former Auburn coach Tony Barbee did not attend the game. The Kentucky assistant was recruiting Saturday, a Wildcats spokeswoman said. Auburn fired Barbee after he went 18-50 in SEC games over four seasons.

BOWERS BACK

Auburn forward Cinmeon Bowers returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench seven straight games. He had eight points and 10 rebounds.

TIP-INS

Kentucky: Shot 11 of 35 in the second half and made 6 of 18 3-pointers for the game. ... Outrebounded Auburn 48-38.

Auburn: Made 21 of 31 free throws and 12 of 26 3-point attempts.

UP NEXT

Kentucky visits Arkansas on Thursday.

Auburn hosts Alabama on Tuesday.

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