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Saturday January 18, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 68, Auburn 61 (Instant Analysis)

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

AT THE BUZZER -
FLORIDA 68, AUBURN 61

WHAT HAPPENED: Florida held off a game challenge from a fired-up Auburn squad playing before a equally charged up crowd, but the seventh-ranked Gators hit free throws down the stretch and held the Tigers scoreless the final 1:57 to win their ninth straight and remain unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play. Casey Prather returned to the lineup to score 21 points, while Scottie Wilbekin scored 16, including a huge fall-away jumper with 1:21 to play -- and shot clock expiring -- to push the Gators to a 3-point edge.

WHAT IT MEANS: With Texas A&M’s loss at Mississippi State, UF is alone atop the SEC standings and is the league’s lone unbeaten team. The Gators also won their seventh single-digit game in nine tries. Florida was 0-6 in single-digit games last season.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Prather missed the last two games with a bruised bone on his right knee, but came off the bench and hit his first six shots to score 16 points in 14 first-half minutes. He finished 8-for-10 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Tigers went 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half and hit six of their first seven from distance to keep pace and give the Auburn Arena hope of the program's first win over a top-10 team since 2003. Didn't happen.

SUBPLOT: Sophomore shooting guard Michael Frazier, who went 6-for-7 here from 3-point range last year, was held scoreless for the first time since the NCAA South Region final loss to Michigan last season. He came in averaging 12.3 points per game, but only took two shots. The Gators covered up nicely for him on offense.

UP NEXT: The Gators (15-2, 4-0) don’t play for five days when they get their first Thursday-Saturday SEC double-dip. UF will go on the road to face Alabama (8-9, 2-2), which lost 68-47 at Missouri on Saturday, then will be home two days later to face Tennessee.

 

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