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Florida won its school-record 18th consecutive game with a victory over Auburn on Wednesday night.

Wednesday February 19, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 71, Auburn 66 (Instant Analysis)

Florida won its school-record 18th consecutive game with a victory over Auburn on Wednesday night.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer

Florida 71, Auburn 66 

WHAT HAPPENED: Four days after one of the biggest victories in recent years (see Rupp Arena), the Gators greeted their rise to the No. 2 spot in the national rankings with their biggest scare of the season -- and one of their best comebacks. Patric Young’s two free throws with 19.4 seconds to go gave UF a one-point lead, then with a chance at a game-winning shot Auburn threw its in-bounds pass into the UF bench. Scottie Wilbekin’s two free throws with 17.5 seconds left made it a four-point game and the Gators escaped with a 71-66 victory that set a school record for consecutive wins at 18. Young scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Wilbekin had 15 points and four assists. Casey Prather had 16 points and seven rebounds. The UF defense held Auburn without a field goal for the final 4:41, while the offense hit eight of 10 free throws to ice the game.

WHAT IT MEANS: In the short term, it means Florida remains unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play and with a three-game lead over Kentucky in the conference standings. And with No. 1 Syracuse losing at Boston College, well, guess what? That’s a conversation for another day. In the bigger picture, the Gators showed they are vulnerable -- very vulnerable. UF’s inability to stay with Auburn’s 3-point shooters could have been catastrophic, but the Gators fixed it (sort of) and managed to steal one they probably should have lost.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Auburn’s guards. The trio of point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen, Chris Denson and KT Harrell combined to score 46 of the Tigers’ 66 points and went 7-for-13 from the 3-point line.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: Young went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line. A 54.1 shooting from the strip coming in, Young has now made 15 of his last 20 there the last six games, including some mighty big ones against the Tigers and at Kentucky.

SUBPLOT: Forward Dorian Finney-Smith’s shooting woes continue to mount after going 0-for-5 from the floor and missing all four of his 3-point shots. He’s now three of his last 32 from the arc. “Doe-Doe," though, continues to fight on the glass and make winning plays, like the assist to Young late in the game that gave UF a lead.

UP NEXT: After this one home game, the Gators (24-2, 13-0) have a second two-game road swing in as many weeks. First up is Ole Miss (16-10, 7-6) Saturday, as the Rebels look to bounce back -- and card a signature victory -- after getting smashed by Kentucky at home Tuesday. After that, UF heads to Vanderbilt, always a challenging place to play.


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