Quantcast

Struggling Auburn gives No. 7 Florida scare, loses 68-61 - abc27 WHTM

Struggling Auburn gives No. 7 Florida scare, loses 68-61

Posted: Updated:
Auburn coach Tony Barbee throws his hands up during the second half against Florida in an NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors) Auburn coach Tony Barbee throws his hands up during the second half against Florida in an NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Jay Sailors)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn took the nation's No. 7 team down to the wire. The result was awfully familiar.

Chris Denson scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half but the Tigers fell 68-61 to Florida on Saturday in another close Southeastern Conference game.

Auburn (8-7, 0-4) has lost its four SEC games by a combined 23 points, losing 14 straight against league opponents overall.

"What we have been working on is the poise, the focus and the confidence it takes in any game in this league," Tigers coach Tony Barbee said. "They all come down to this and they all have. Our poise, focus and confidence hasn't been there in those moments when we have got to make those plays and we question ourselves. And you can't do that.

"Like I told our team, losing is not our destiny."

Casey Prather scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half for the Gators (15-2, 4-0) in his comeback after missing two games with a badly bruised right knee.

"I'm not so sure if he's hurt again this game," Florida coach Billy Donovan said, "that this is a game we could pull out."

Prather made eight of 10 shots for the Gators (15-2, 4-0), who have won nine straight games and eight in a row at Auburn.

Tahj Shamsid-Deen hit a jump shot with 1:59 left to cut Florida's lead to 62-61, but Scottie Wilbekin answered with a fadeaway jumper.

"We didn't really have anything going on that possession," Wilbeken said. "My first drive, I didn't have anything so I tried to give it to Casey Prather coming around behind me. His man denied him, so I had to make another move and I just made it."

Wilbekin, who scored 16 points, made two of four free throws over the final 48 seconds.

Patric Young blocked KT Harrell's attempt to bring Auburn within two points in between those trips to the line.

Kasey Hill made two late free throws for the final margin.

Young scored 13 points for Florida, which outrebounded Auburn 31-23.

Denson, the SEC's leading scorer, helped keep the Tigers close. Harrell added 18 points and made 4 of 7 3-point attempts. Allen Payne finished with 11 points.

"They made the plays down the stretch and we didn't," Barbee said.

The Gators, who lost a 13-point lead in the first half, made 21 of 39 shots (53.8 percent).

Florida made 23 of 33 free throws while Auburn was 14 of 22. The Tigers' point guards, Shamsid-Deen and Malcolm Canada, both fouled out.

Prather got right into his offensive rhythm after the layoff. He came in with 16:58 remaining, hit two quick jump shots and made his first five attempts, including a fast-break dunk off a nice bounce pass from Hill.

The Gators reeled off a 14-1 run for a 23-10 lead while the Tigers missed their first 10 attempts from inside the 3-point line. Walk-on Alex Thompson finally scored on a putback 13 minutes into the game for Auburn's first basket since making a third consecutive 3-pointer with 14:28 left in the half.

Auburn hit all five of its 3-point attempts in the first half and finished 7 of 13.

Despite Prather's surge, the Gators barely led at halftime. Wilbekin made two free throws with 3 seconds left to give Florida a 33-32 lead.

Auburn had scored 14 consecutive points to briefly take the lead.

"Florida has the best defense I have ever seen," said Denson, adding that the Gators altered a number of shots. "I was the one in the first half that missed a lot of layups, but I think it was a little bit of nerves. Playing the No. 7 team in the country, and I was just anxious. We got the nerves out and then started getting in the grooves offensively."

Florida pushed the lead as high as 48-40 in the first 7 minutes after the half, but couldn't pull away.

Auburn announced before tipoff that reserve guard Chris Griffin has left school and is transferring. Griffin averaged 5.7 points in seven games as a junior before he was indefinitely suspended for violating school policy on Jan. 11.

Follow John Zenor on Twitter @jzenor

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:12:02 GMT
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
  • UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:58:33 GMT
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.More >>
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>
  • TCU to play both QBs in opener against Samford

    TCU to play both QBs in opener against Samford

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:45:15 GMT
    Trevone Boykin is in the same position he was last year with TCU, again part of the unanswered question of who will be the starting quarterback only days before the season opener against Samford.More >>
    Trevone Boykin is in the same position he was last year with TCU, again part of the unanswered question of who will be the starting quarterback only days before the season opener against Samford.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow