Second Half Woes Continue for Auburn in loss to Florida
Anfernee McLemore (24) scored a career-high 19 points in Auburn's 114-95 loss to Florida on Tuesday night (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)
When a team scores 95 points and has six players reach the double-digit mark, that team almost always ends the contest with a victory. Keyword: almost. That is what happened to Auburn Men’s Basketball (16-10, 5-8) on Tuesday night against a tough team in the #15 Florida Gators. Auburn scored 95 points in the contest, and had six players reach double-figures, but the Gators scored 64 points in the second half to pull away and seal the 114-95 win. Auburn seemed to have a bit of momentum heading into the locker room, as they were tied 50-all with a top-15 team. The teams were pretty close to even in a few major categories, including three-point percentage (AU- 45% UF- 40%), rebounds (AU- 18 UF- 16), and points in the paint (UF- 22 AU- 16), however, the Gators came out of the gate swinging in the second half, scoring nine points in 1:23. Florida reached their sixth ten-point lead of the half at the 12:54 mark, and their lead never dipped below that line for the remainder of the game. The Gators largest lead came with 2:13 remaining, when a Kevaughn Allen free throw pushed them to a 21-point deficit. “Florida did a good job moving their ball screens to different parts of the floor in the second half, and it bothered us,” Pearl said of the difference between the Gators first and second half adjustments. Florida, a team that is expected to make a run in the NCAA Tournament under Coach Mike White, impressed Pearl on Tuesday night. “Florida is a great team. They are engaged in every part of the game, Pearl said following the game. “They can shoot from three, and they play fast.” Florida scored 64 points in the second half, which is the third consecutive game where Auburn has allowed at least 60 points in the final half of play. While that stat has raised concern for some fans, Pearl assures everyone that the team’s recent performance will not become a common occurrence. “Most of our players are better offensively than they are defensive,” said Pearl. “This program is in good shape.” Anfernee McLemore led the team in scoring with 19, a career high. Bryce Brown also had a career high in rebounds with five. The remaining five Tigers to reach double-figures were TJ Dunans (13), Ronnie Johnson (12), Danjel Purifoy (11), Austin Wiley (11), and Jared Harper (10). This game marks the third consecutive game where the leading scorer came off the bench. Jared Harper’s 21 point game against Tennessee was the last time that an athlete who started the game led in points. Auburn Basketball will look to rebound on Saturday afternoon in College Station, as they battle the Texas A&M Aggies at 3 P.M.