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Auburn 76, Florida 62: Tigers hound Gators in rout

Florida needed to play a good game and have Auburn be off to win on the Plains. That didn’t happen.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators probably needed the Auburn Tigers to be cold while they themselves were hot to get a win at Auburn Arena on Tuesday night.

Neither of those things happened.

Auburn made nine of 25 threes, forced 17 Florida turnovers, and ripped down 10 offensive rebounds, controlling the game throughout for a 76-62 win that Florida could never really threaten.

The Gators got seven or more points from six different scorers, but no more from any one player than the 11 put up by Kevarrius Hayes. And they could never quite get untracked against a ferocious Auburn defense that harassed Andrew Nembhard (three turnovers, two assists) and KeVaughn Allen (six turnovers, three assists) all night, and forced Florida to grind for individual baskets — which, as in the case of Keyontae Johnson’s seven-point, 10-rebound, five-turnover night, had mostly poor results.

Meanwhile, Auburn got 14 points from Bryce Brown, 11 (and eight boards, and three steals) from Chuma Okeke, and 12 from Samir Doughty, the latter two of whom feasted against Florida’s tweener wing forwards.

Auburn also feasted at the line, shooting 27 free throws to Florida’s 12; the Gators, despite being perfect at the stripe, scored five fewer points there than Auburn did, even though they made more of an effort to drive than usual on a night when they hit just four threes and took just 20, both substantially under season averages.

And Auburn, which committed a mere 10 turnovers, never let its grip on its lead slip after halftime, with Florida beginning the second frame down six and never making the game a one-possession affair.

For Florida, it was not far off the same old story of its games against tough competition this year: A game effort undermined by poor shooting and not enough horses to defend at the highest level for all 40 minutes.

With a trip to Rocky Top to take on No. 1 Tennessee looming, the Gators had better hope someone on high tears up all scripts pertaining to their season.