BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It was a different Wildcat this time around but the same team winning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week. With Kentucky guard Tyler Herro earning Monday’s weekly conference award, UK has now won SEC Freshman of the Week honors in five of the last six weeks.
Herro earned this week’s award after averaging a team-best 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in road wins at Georgia and at No. 14/12 Auburn, UK’s first road victory at an Associated Press top-15 team in the SEC since March 1, 2006.
Herro was particularly key in the signature win over the Tigers with a team-high-tying 20 points. The freshman guard from Milwaukee scored 15 of those in the second half as the Tigers mounted a furious comeback, oftentimes silencing the hostile crowd with run-stopping buckets as Auburn clawed its way back into the game.
As Auburn closed within 73-70, Herro hit a 3 at the top of the key to get the lead back to six with just minutes remaining. He then hit two free throws with 25 seconds left and the Cats trailing by one to give UK an 81-80 lead. The Wildcats would hold on for an 82-80 win.
Herro was 5 for 7 from the floor after halftime at Auburn, including two of his three 3-pointers. He also dished out four assists. He made all five of his free-throw attempts.
He had an all-around solid game in the 69-49 victory at Georgia with 12 points, a team-high-tying seven rebounds and a team-high-tying four assists. He was 9 for 9 at the line vs. Georgia and has now made 17 straight free throws.
Herro is averaging 13.5 points this season, behind only Keldon Johnson’s 14.9 scoring average. He leads the team with 29 3-pointers and a .895 free-throw percentage. He’s also pulling down 4.2 boards per game with 39 assists and 19 steals.
Over the last 11 games, Herro is averaging a team-best 15.4 points per game and reached double figures in 10 of the 11. He’s shooting 47.7 percent from the floor and 35.0 percent from deep. He’s also drained multiple 3-pointers in eight of the 11 games.
Herro has been particularly good in UK’s road games, where he’s averaging a team-best 17.0 points on 51.1-percent shooting and 45.0 percent from behind the arc.
The honor is the second of the season for Herro and the league-leading sixth time a UK player has been named the league’s top-performing freshman. Johnson and Hagans have each won it twice as well.
Kentucky has won more weekly SEC honors (95) than any other school during the Calipari era, including 77 SEC Freshman of the Week honors and 18 SEC Player of the Week awards.
The Wildcats return to action Tuesday at 7 p.m.UK will take on Mississippi State in what’s expected to be the second in a three-game span of playing ranked opponents. ESPN will televise the Super Tuesday matchup.
‑ GO CATS