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Florida 75, Auburn 55: No sweat for Gators in rout of Tigers

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Florida reintroduced itself to Bruce Pearl with defense as smothering as his jackets once were.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014, no SEC team got closer to beating Florida in the O'Connell Center than Auburn did in a 71-66 thriller.

In 2015, the Tigers weren't nearly that close.

Florida built an early double-digit lead and never let it slip, staving off a brief Tigers spurt in the second half and finishing off Bruce Pearl's bunch for a 75-55 win.

Four Florida players scored in double figures, led by Dorian Finney-Smith (14 points), and all 10 Gators who played scored. Michael Frazier II had 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench, Eli Carter chipped in another 12 for a bench that combined for 36 points on the night, and Kasey Hill had a quietly outstanding game, finishing with 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds, three steals, a block, and no turnovers.

The Gators built their lead in the first half on a 15-0 run that spanned more than six minutes, and never relinquished it, despite a 10-0 run by the Tigers in the second half that featured threes on three consecutive offensive possessions. Florida shot just under 50 percent from the floor, but better than 40 percent from three, and the Gators held their own underneath against imposing Auburn forward Cinmeon Bowers, holding him to 11 points on 11 shots and limiting him to just three offensive rebounds.

As a team, Auburn made just 16 field goals, one fewer than their foul total and three more than their turnover tally. The 20-point loss is Pearl's worst in an SEC regular-season game.

With the win, Florida's own SEC streaks just keep getting longer: Florida's won 24 straight games against SEC competition, 21 straight regular-season games, and 20 consecutive SEC games at home.

The Gators' greatest challenge to the first two streaks so far this year should come Saturday, when they head to Athens to take on Georgia in Stegeman Coliseum.