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February 18, 2010Tay Waller scored 22 points, DeWayne Reed 13 and Brendon Knox 10 but it wasn't enough as the Tigers were edged by Florida 78-70 in the O'Connell Center on Thursday.
Chandler Parsons scored 17 points to lead the Gators.
Florida (18-8, 7-4) used a 12-1 run to turn a 42-40 lead into a 52-43 Gator advantage just over seven minutes into the second half. Waller caught fire as he made three straight long range 3-pointers to draw the Auburn (12-14, 3-8) to within 64-59 with 5:45 remaining.
"We started playing better basketball the last 10 minutes of the game," said Waller. "We put ourselves in a hole in the first 30 minutes, and it was kind of hard to get out of the hole. I don't think we were there mentally the whole game either, and it showed up in the first 30 minutes. We tried to pick it up in the last 10."
A conventional Reed 3-point play brought the Tigers to within 72-68 with 47.9 seconds left and then a pair of Reed foul shots made it 74-70 Florida with 23.9 seconds to go.
Florida only scored one field goal in the final 11:25 of the game but went 17-of-23 from the foul line. For the game, the Gators went 32-of-40 from the free throw line to Auburn's 17-of-22 from the charity stripe.
The two teams were nearly equal from the field with Auburn going 23-of-53 and Florida 22-of-50. The Tigers outshot the Gators from 3-point range, going 7-of-29 to 2-of-10 for Florida.
"Foul shots were the difference in the game," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "That's what it came down to really to be honest with you. Some of these were right at the end of the game, obviously,
but we put them on the line that many times. We didn't shoot the ball well. Frankie (Sullivan) struggled shooting the basketball, and that hurt us a little bit. Foul shooting was the difference in the game."
Auburn had 16 turnovers to Florida's eight. Sullivan, who went 2-of-11 from the field including missing 8-of-9 from 3-point range, had seven points.
For the Gators, Erving Walker scored all 14 of his points from the free throw line as he only missed two. Alex Tyus added 12 points.
Auburn returns home to play host to Arkansas on Saturday at 6 pm Central in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on FSN South.