Auburn fades late, falls 63-47 at No. 12 Florida
Auburn had everything going its way for the first half, even
into the second.
Then the Tigers went cold, way cold. And No. 12 Florida got hot,
The Gators used a 26-4 run in the second half to turn a
one-point deficit into an insurmountable lead and handled Auburn
63-47 on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (14-13, 4-9 Southeastern Conference) clearly carried
over some of the momentum gained from beat Mississippi State three
days earlier. But they couldn’t sustain it.
”We knew they were going to make a run,” Auburn coach Tony
Barbee said. ”We just didn’t have the firepower to counter-punch
Adrian Forbes led the Tigers with 11 points, the team’s only
player in double figures. Leading scorer Frankie Sullivan finished
with six points on 2-of-10 shooting.
Kenny Gabriel fell hard to the court twice and played just 20
”Kenny’s one of our better players,” said guard Varez Ward,
who finished with six points. ”When you lose one of those,
somebody else has to step up. I didn’t step up tonight and neither
did some other guys. It was unfortunate.”
Barbee’s biggest concern was his team shooting 30.4 percent in
the second half, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc. ”You’re not
going to beat an explosive team like Florida when you’re not
knocking down shots,” Barbee said.
Gabriel bruised his lower back, Barbee said, and is questionable
for Saturday’s game against Arkansas. Chris Denson was helped to
the locker room with a knee injury at halftime.
Denson tweaked his right knee on a driving layup just before
halftime. His basket put the Tigers ahead 30-27 and gave Florida
coach Billy Donovan extra reason to rip into his players.
The Gators (22-6, 10-3) needed it, too. They had 12 turnovers in
the first half and gave up eight offensive rebounds, an
error-filled start that had Donovan seething and the Tigers
Donovan responded with the strongest message guard Erving Walker
has heard in his four years in Gainesville.
”You guys (stink),” Walker said. ”Just everything. Just one
of those halftime speeches that we know is just to motivate us and
I think we deserved it.”
Was it G-rated?
”No kids allowed,” Walker added.
Florida eventually turned things around, getting a big boost
from the 3-point line.
The Gators shot 53.5 percent from the field, including 11-of-21
from behind the arc.
Bradley Beal and Walker were huge in the 26-4 spurt. They
finished with 13 points apiece. Walker added seven rebounds and
”Coach really gave it to us and we knew we had to step up our
play or it would be real bad,” Walker said. ”The game wasn’t
going our way how we need it, so we know we had to pick it
Boynton and Beal capped the big run with consecutive 3s that
sent many of the home fans home.
Florida’s biggest concern after that was forward Will Yeguete’s
Yeguete, one of the team’s best rebounders and the heart and
soul of Donovan’s full-court press, broke his left foot midway
through the second half against Auburn and is sidelined
X-rays confirmed the severity of the injury.
”We’ve got some health issues and we need to get back healthier
than we are right now,” Donovan said.
It might not happen. Donovan said the injury likely would
sideline Yeguete for the season. And that would be a huge blow
since Yeguete is arguably Florida’s most versatile player.
”There’s going to be some things that we’re going to need to
practice if it is broken and he is done,” Donovan said. ”Now,
it’s not how do you get by for a week or a couple games. Now it’s
like, `OK, we’re dealing with this for the rest of the