Florida entered the game firmly on the bubble after yesterday’s dramatic win over the LSU Tigers, and after taking the loss, finish their season 19-15 and will await their fate tomorrow on Selection Sunday. Auburn, on the other hand, is comfortably into the NCAA Tournament and is trying to improve their seeding.
The end of the game saw some controversy, as after Jared Harper split a pair of free throws to put the Tigers up by three, Florida had a chance to send into overtime. Yesterday’s hero Andrew Nembhard brought the ball and it was fairly obvious Bruce Pearl’s gameplan was to foul to not allow a shot for the tie.
A trio of Auburn defenders were all over Nembhard and no foul was called. Nembhard got a shot off despite being clawed by a couple Tiger defenders and then missed. Even the announcers thought Florida should be shooting free throws for the tie, but SEC officials have never made sense.
The Gators got out to an early 19-10 lead but three straight 3-ointers on three possessions tied it up. On the flip side, give Mike White’s squad credit for hanging in there as it appeared Auburn was ready to pull ahead late and coast to a victory. With six minutes left, Bryce Brown drilled a 3-pointer to put Auburn up by eight, and the Tiger faithful were getting loud. But Florida stayed calm, got some stops and some buckets to get right back into it.
Florida was undone by 19 total turnovers as opposed to just four by Auburn. They shot better than the Tigers from the field, finishing 23-for-38 for a 60.5 percent clip while Auburn shot 25-for-56 at a 44.6 percent rate. The difference was the turnovers and Auburn making 13 threes opposed to just six by Florida.
Neither team got to the free throw line at a great rate with Florida going 10-12 and Auburn just a measly 2-5.
Jalen Hudson and Kevarrius Hayes led the way for Florida with 16 points apiece, while Jared Harper paced Auburn with 20 points. Auburn will face the Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday for the SEC Tournament Championship, while Florida sees if their season will continue in the NCAA Tournament.