Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators beat Auburn Tigers with strong free-throw shooting

GAINESVILLE — In the fight for their NCAA Tournament lives, every game counts for the Gators these days, and in an interesting turn of events, Florida earned a win Thursday night aided by an aspect of its game it had struggled with lately.

Florida entered struggling from the free-throw line, but the Gators were 32-of-40 in their 78-70 win over Auburn at the O'Connell Center, going the final 8:24 without a field goal.

"We've got to win all our home games; we've got to win every game," junior forward Alex Tyus said. "I feel like there's a sense of urgency with this team, and hopefully we're going to keep getting better, and keep getting wins."

Florida (18-8, 7-4 SEC) pulled off the victory despite another poor offensive performance from guards Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. The two combined to go 2-of-13 from the field, 1-of-6 from 3-point range. Walker was 0-for-6 from the field but earned 14 points at the free-throw line.

"That has been a big focus for us, especially after practice lately, because we hadn't been shooting free throws well," Walker said. "So it was good to see some fall. I had some good looks with my shot, I just missed them."

Florida shot 44 percent from the field, but was just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. Coach Billy Donovan said the Gators weren't able to get in synch offensively down the stretch because of the constant trips to the line — the Gators were 18-of-24 from the line in the final 10:06.

In their two previous games, both losses, the Gators missed 13 free throws at South Carolina and 11 against Xavier.

The Tigers (12-14, 3-8) kept it close, despite going 3-of-16 on 3-pointers in the second half. DeWayne Reed, who had a game-high 22 points, hit two free throws that pulled Auburn to within 74-70 with 23 seconds left, but Auburn got no closer.

"I thought Jeff's (Lebo) bench gave him some great minutes," Donovan said of the Auburn coach.

While Auburn used 13 players, the Gators picked up some much-needed help from its bench from senior Dan Werner and freshman Erik Murphy. Murphy had seven points and three rebounds, while Werner sparked the Gators with a dunk at the 12:50 mark, had several key defensive plays at critical times, and finished with nine points and four rebounds. It was his strongest offensive night since Jan. 20. Junior Chandler Parsons led the Gators with 17 points and six rebounds.

"I personally was very, very happy for Dan," Donovan said. "I think the unfortunate part for Dan is people do not understand his value or what he brings to the team. They just do not see it, and it's unfortunate. … For me as a coach, with three (home) games remaining, it was great to see him really play with a lot of energy and fire, have some success out there, and I thought he really impacted the game.

Florida 78

Auburn 70

Florida Gators beat Auburn Tigers with strong free-throw shooting 02/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.