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Updated: Saturday, March 15, 2003 5:32 PM EST
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(2) Kentucky 78, Auburn 58
Auburn Tigers
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Kentucky Wildcats
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NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The fact that Auburn managed a halftime tie with Kentucky was a bit surprising. The Wildcats' performance in the second half was anything but.

Erik Daniels scored 17 points as the second-ranked Wildcats ran the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games by advancing to the championship of the Southeastern Conference tournament with a 78-58 rout of the Tigers.

Kentucky (28-3) will try for its 24th SEC title when it meets Mississippi State on Sunday. The Wildcats have won more conference tournaments than the other 11 SEC schools and have captured eight of the last 11.

Keith Bogans' runner with four seconds left forged a 36-36 tie at halftime and he opened the scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer. His 3-pointer triggered a 10-0 surge that was capped by Daniels' tip-in as Kentucky opened up a 56-42 advantage with 13:47 remaining.

After a 3-pointer by Auburn's Lewis Monroe, Cliff Hawkins and Gerald Fitch each nailed 3-pointers for the Wildcats for a 19-point cushion.

Auburn (20-11) must wait and hope for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament after losing for the ninth time in 14 games. Brandon Robinson's 17 points led the Tigers.

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