Auburn's Chuma Okeke to miss rest of NCAA tournament with torn ACL

by Leon Thompson March 31, 2019, 2:00
Auburn's Chuma Okeke to miss rest of NCAA tournament with torn ACL

The Auburn Tigers and the Kentucky Wildcats meet in an all-SEC elite 8 matchup in an NCAA tournament matchup in college basketball action from the Sprint Center on Sunday. No player was more influential in the victory than Auburn sophomore Chuma Okeke, who was forced to leave the game in the second half after suffering a serious leg injury. He was Auburn's third-leading scorer this season with 11.8 points per game, and leading rebounder with 6.7 per game.

Freshman Tyler Herro led Kentucky in scoring with 19, which included a key 3-pointer with 25.8 seconds left in the game to give the Wildcats the lead after Houston had erased a double-digit United Kingdom lead.

Auburn briefly cooled off from deep before lengthening out to a 19-point lead with just over nine minutes left.

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He is set to have surgery this week to fix the damage, but his NCAA Tournament is over. His assignment was to guard Davis, who averaged 23.5 points in the Cougars' first two tournament games. He returned to practice on Thursday and wasn't sure if he'd play, but he did, and he made the difference in the four-point win.

Houston (33-4), in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1984, used a 17-6 surge to finish a comeback from 13 points down early in the second half. "Through the end of the game, it was trying to cramp up". The Tigers opened the second half with two straight 3-pointers, taking a double-digit lead before UNC could even blink. Armoni Brooks, who finished with 20 points, made three of his six 3-pointers during the run, the last a fade-away from the corner to tie it at 49.

Tyler Herro was the hero as Kentucky escaped with a win over Houston in the other regional semifinal in Kansas City, Mo. The Tigers will have to proceed without forward Chuma Okeke, unfortunately.

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