Fastbreak: Auburn melts down as No. 2 Florida escapes to win program-record 18th-straight game

A questionable decision and boneheaded play negated the Auburn Tigers (12-12, 4-9 SEC) upset bid on Wednesday night in Gainesville, FL as the No. 2 Florida Gators (24-2, 13-0 SEC) squeaked out a 71-66 victory in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Florida set a school record with its 18th-straight victory, captured its 30th win in a row at home and matched the program record for best start to a season (2006-07). The Gators also extended a program record with their best-ever start in league play and recorded their 16th consecutive home win against an SEC opponent.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida senior center Patric Young rebounded a missed Chris Denson free throw with 21 seconds to play, and Auburn’s Asauhn Dixon-Tatum inexplicably fouled him with UF in the double bonus. Young, who has hit .714 over the last six games from the charity stripe, made both free throws to give the Gators a two-point lead. But the game really ended on the ensuing inbounds pass when Allen Payne of the Tigers threw the ball to a teammate who was not expecting it only to see the rock sail out of bounds. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was fouled immediately afterward and hit two more free throws to clinch the victory.

Prominent player: Young dominated in the second half and carried Florida on his back at the tail end of Wednesday’s contest, finishing with a team-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He hit 7-of-9 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds, dished three assists and registered two blocks including a highlight swat where he charged down the court on a fastbreak, flew into the lane and saved a layup with eight minutes to play.

Perfect play: The Gators appeared down in the dumps trailing by two with less than a minute to play, but sophomore guard Michael Frazier II turned all of that around by draining a big three from point-blank range on an assist from senior forward Casey Prather with 42 seconds left. Though AU did tie the game on its next possession, the huge basket by Frazier helped reverse UF’s fortunes. It was especially big for Frazier, who went just 3-for-9 from beyond the arc on Wednesday and even injured his left wrist early in the second half. Frazier notched nine points, while Prather was an efficient 6-for-8 for 16 points with nine boards.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.

First half focus: A 12-0 run spotted Auburn a seven-point lead on Florida with 5:55 until halftime, but the Gators answered with a trio of three-pointers – two from Wilbekin – for a 9-2 stretch that tied things up at 27. However, AU turned up the heat on UF heading into the break with an 11-3 run over the final 3:10 of the opening period, handing its hosts a season-high eight-point deficit at the half. Wilbekin struggled and only hit 4-of-14 shots but totaled 15 points on the evening.

(More) perfect plays: Trailing by six early in the second half, Florida converted a pair of alley-oops on consecutive possessions, each of which was authored by Wilbekin. He first found Young wide open near the basket for an easy conversion before connecting with senior forward Casey Prather on a fastbreak. Prather caught Wilbekin’s pass, stretched toward the rim and slammed it home to cut UF’s deficit to two points.

Standout stat: The Tigers hit 10 of their first 17 three pointers and held the Gators at arm’s length throughout most of the contest. Florida’s defense beyond the arc can once again be called into question as it struggled to stop Auburn even in the second half after head coach Billy Donovan gave the team a stern talking to during the break.

What it means: The Gators survived a game they almost certainly would have lost a year ago and did so just minutes before No. 1 Syracuse suffered a 72-69 overtime defeat at the hands of Boston College on its home court. Which means…

Next up: Florida will have a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking nationally as it hits the road again for back-to-back games away from its home court starting with a contest Saturday at Ole Miss that will air live at noon on CBS.

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26 Responses to “Fastbreak: Auburn melts down as No. 2 Florida escapes to win program-record 18th-straight game”

  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    Unbelievable! They can’t lay any more eggs like that one. NO 3-pt D!!!…& I’ve definitely lost confidence in Frazier. I used to think “keep shooting!”. Now, I’d rather he NOT. Sure, his late 3 hit nothing but net but he’s lately been more of a bricklayer than clutch. Also, DF-S is starting to remind me of Dan Werner. They certainly didn’t look like the 2nd best team but they sure played like #2 tonight. It’s a good thing the big 3 SR’s came through.

    • one says:

      They certainly didn’t look like the 2nd best team but they sure played like #2 tonight.
      ——————-
      That’s pretty harsh. This team is bound to lose a game, unless they go undefeated and win the title. A letdown game after playing at Tenn and Kentucky? DFS reminding you of Dan Werner?!

      I think the basketball team has spoiled our fans. Better to be lucky than good sometimes.

    • Timmy T says:

      Clown statement bro, This team is awesome. Enjoy the moment instead of trying to tear it down. Sloppy at times, yes. Lackadaisical at times, you bet, but found a way to win. Great teams do that and our team is indeed great . Personally, I found it fantastic that we did so well at the free throw line, again. Go Gators!!!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Lost confidence in Frazier? He is 3rd best 3 pt shooter in Gator history by percentage. His shots kept us in the game. Winning this game was a miracle, there was no way we should have won this game, we were given it in the last 30 seconds. This was not even like @Ark where pulled off the OT win, no reason we should have won this game but they gave it away. Frazier kept it close and hit incredibly timely 3 pt shots as well as a couple of other buckets just to keep it close. Razzing him makes no sense, these guys did what they do best, pulled out another tight one that they ever even should have been in.

      With Syracuse loss to sub 150 team tonight, which was inevitable the way they have been playing and probably 1-2 more losses, and AZ good chance to lose 1 or 2 of next 3, UF could easily be overall #1 seed in tourney. Shame you are bitching about a couple of off shots rather than a game UF didn’t deserve to win but managed to pull out and could carry them forward big time…

    • Bo says:

      Chicken little, relax.

  2. Jim says:

    Speaking of 3 pointers…. Finney-Smith really needs to lay off the 3s for now… at the beginning of the season he was hot…. not so much now. I’m proud of our team. Even without those 2 plays I think we still find a way to win it.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      So those he tossed up didn’t drop, they were open shots, no reason not to take them. OK, he didn’t make, but telling him to stop taking wide open shots he can usually make is silly. Shooters shoot and they were all good shots, most of the time they will drop, they just didn’t tonight

  3. W says:

    Let’s all panic!!!! Ahhhh!!!! Frazier missed some shots so we can’t trust him!!!! Ahhhhh our best bench player by a long shot is comparable to the worst starter in UF history!!!! Ahhhhhh never let Doe Doe shoot ever again!

    Get a grip. There are peaks and valleys in a long season. Everyone lays the occasional egg. But you know what? We won. It’s over, and all there is to think about is Ole Miss. Let’s enjoy this run and stop being fickle UF football fans for a bit and stop crying wolf after one off game.

    • Timmy T says:

      Hell yeah. Well said.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Exactly! After two big wins it’s hard not to have a letdown to a 12-11 team even on your home court. The rowdy reptiles and the seniors propelled them to victory. Number 13 for AU couldn’t make that many 3’s again if nobody else was on the court, he was only shooting 30% for the year.

    • Marlex says:

      Exactly. We laid an egg last night… but we laid an egg and won. I’m celebrating the win. Besides, having this close score end-of-game situations in our resume can only help us in the tournament.

  4. uf_84 says:

    A win is a win. I’ll take it. We were bound to have a letdown after the two big wins last week. We just have to get refocused for Ole Miss this Saturday.
    No brainer for prominant player tonight. Patric Young was an absolute beast. He’s been a man on a mission lately.
    Keep on rollin Gators!!

  5. Dave Massey says:

    A W is a W.

  6. Dave Massey says:

    The ‘cuse will still be ranked first unless they lose again before the rankings come out.

  7. Gatoralum88 says:

    OK! Now that I’ve had a chance to decompress, I’d like to take back some of my earlier rant. One, W, Timmy T, & Dave you’re ALL right! It was definitely an overreaction on my part. I guess 2 great road wins last week did spoil me a bit. A W is a W & I need to keep that in perspective. Hopefully this “close call” will serve a good purpose from here on out. Oh, I also take back comparing Doe Doe to Dan Werner. Go Gators!!!

  8. Joey says:

    Win thats all you have to do!!!!!!

    BUT WE NEED TO SHUT THAT OLE MISS PUNK UP THIS WEEKEND!!!!! BEAT THEM BY 50

  9. Ken (CA) says:

    Adam, story idea. I would love to know the generation of the “rowdy reptiles” term. I know when Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was first called the Swamp, and why, but I have heard Dicky V and other now refer to the O-Dome as the home of the rowdy reptiles, I would love to know how that started, who started it and how it caught on to be called that today…

  10. ga8or22 says:

    Heart attack special and it doesn’t get any easier. We now have a big bulls eye on our back that every team will be gunning for, trying to knock the Gators off.

  11. Alex says:

    Lulz at The original Frazier post, that kid constantly makes 3s when we need them. He should shoot every time he is open. Kid is a phenomenal shooter.

  12. SWFL Joe says:

    Great day to be a Gator. Softball rolled, baseball snatched one from the jaws of defeat and basketball survived. Sometimes the basketball gods just smile on you.

  13. Luke says:

    @Ken – I don’t know if it was the origination, but in ’99-03 time frame, a portion of the students who waited for days to get into games got t shirts and swag that said “Rowdy Reptiles” on them. It referred to the student section, especially the front rows, where the bros and babes got raucous!!

    I miss those days…

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