The box score doesn’t always do a team justice. For Florida’s 71-66 win over Auburn Wednesday night, this is a prime example. Auburn managed to keep close with the Gators the entire game, causing around ten lead changes.
The majority of that can be credited with how well the Tigers shot from the field, going 47 percent from the floor and 52 percent from the three point line. It wasn’t until under the one minute mark when things began to tilt in Florida’s favor.
All the talk surrounding this Gators team has been predominantly about their senior play and it’s well warranted. However, it was sophomore guard Michael Frazier the II who with 42 seconds left on the clock hit a deep three at the top of the key to give Florida a 66-65 lead.
Auburn would have a chance after Florida’s senior forward Will Yeguete committed a blocking foul with 21 seconds left and the Tigers already shooting the double bonus. Senior guard Chris Denson made the first but missed the second attempt, tying up the game at 66.
Oddly enough on the second missed attempt, Florida’s Patric Young was fouled by center Asaushn Dixon-Tatum after he made the defensive rebound with 20 seconds still remaining to shoot the double bonus. Young; a 57 percent free throw shooter on the season made both shots making the score 68-66.
This left the Tigers who were already out of timeouts, 20 seconds to either tie or win the game. Senior forward Allen Payne attempted to make the inbound pass but instead the pass resulted in the Gators bench when junior guard KT Harrell glanced away to look up court.
A successful inbound pass for the Gators to senior guard Scottie Wilbekin and a pair of free throws made by him and another by Young to close out the game. Florida escapes what would have been their first loss since back in early December.
With the win, the Gators have won 18 straight games this season; something the program has never done before. Its also gives them their 30th consecutive victory at home; placing them in the top three in current active winning streaks in the country (Duke and Stephen F. Austin.)
It only gets tougher for the Gators as they hit the road three out of their next five remaining games. It all begins this Saturday as they head to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.