7th-Ranked Gators the Next Test for Tigers

The Auburn basketball team faces the 20-3 Florida Gators on Saturday at the Auburn Arena.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tony Barbee's struggling Auburn basketball team will have perhaps its toughest test of the season as the Tigers take on seventh-ranked Florida on Saturday.

Tipoff at the Auburn Arena is set for 12:47 p.m. CST for the game vs. seventh-ranked Florida. The Gators lead the SEC with a 10-1 record and are 20-3 overall.

"Florida is a very good team," says Barbee, whose squad brings a 9-15 overall record and a 3-8 SEC mark into the contest.

"They have five guys (actually four) who average in double figures, and any time that happens on any team it makes it extremely tough to guard because you never know who the guy is they are going to look to for scoring that night," Barbee says. "They are really explosive, have really good talent and are very well-coached."

Kenny Boynton, a 6-2, 190 senior guard is the leading scorer for the Gators at 12.9 points per game. Erik Murphy, a 6-10, 238 senior forward, is averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.

Patric Young, a 6-9, 249 junior center, is the top rebounder at 6.8 per game and is scoring 10.8 points per contest.

Mike Rosario, a 6-3, 183 senior guard, is averaging 12.5 points per game.

Coach Billy Donovan's other starter, 6-2, 176 junior guard Scottie Wilbekin, leads the team in assists with 5.2 per game and is averaging 9.5 points.

While the Gators are positioning themselves to win the SEC regular season title and earn a high seed for the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers are floundering. The latest example of that took place on Wednesday night as Auburn fell 85-73 against a visiting Arkansas team that had not won a road game prior to its victory over the Tigers.

"It is always tough when you are at home and don't play well and lose a game," Barbee said. Since winning its first two games to open SEC play, the Tigers have only beaten Alabama. Florida's only SEC loss came at Arkansas.

Chris Denson is averaging 12.2 points per game for the Tigers, second to Frankie Sullivan's 15.5.

Tigers vs. Gators: Florida has won its last four matchups and 14 of the last 15 vs. Auburn, but the Tigers lead the overall series 87-72.

Tickets: General admission tickets to the upper and lower levels are sold out. There are drink rail standing room tickets available at $20 apiece and $85 seats in the east side scholarship section.

Tigers Vs. Top 10: Auburn has lost its last 12 opportunities to defeat a team ranked in the Top 10. The Tigers have a record of 16-32 at home vs. Top 10 foes, 2-51 on the road and 6-16 at neutral sites.

Donovan's Daughter: The Florida coach's daughter, Hasbrouck Donovan, is a freshman on Auburn's equestrian team. She helped the second-ranked Tigers defeat No. 4 South Carolina in a home meet on Thursday and plans to attend her father's game on Saturday.

Denson Improving: Junior guard Chris Denson replaced Frankie Sullivan in the starting lineup on Wednesday and led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points while dishing out five assists. Against Kentucky the previous game he scored 15 points as he continues his comeback from a foot injury.

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