Tyler Harris (above) has been a key performer for Coach Bruce Pearl's Tigers.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CST at the O’Connell Center where the Gators are 8-1 overall this season with a 3-0 mark in SEC games. Florida has a 12-6 record, is 4-2 in the league and has won three of its last four SEC contests.
Auburn, which is 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the SEC, is trying to extend its winning streak to three games after defeating Kentucky 75-70 last Saturday and Alabama by an 83-77 score on Tuesday night.
“I just feel like what we have been doing in the last couple games is just defend, play as a team and stay focused throughout the whole 40 minutes,” said Harris, who noted that is the goal again vs. the Gators in a game that will be televised on the SEC Network.
“I feel like we have a good rhythm right now,” said Harris, who second on the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game and second in rebounding with 8.2 per contest. “We are clicking a lot better. We have adjusted to the injuries and the players that we have lost pretty well now, and we’re just looking to build with that.”
After opening SEC play with a home win vs. Tennessee, the Tigers dropped their next three games with a home loss to South Carolina followed by road setbacks at Missouri and Vanderbilt.
“In that stretch of losses we found it in us to just go out and play hard and we needed to get back to that and just defend and guard and no matter the outcome,” Harris said. “We needed to go into the game and come out satisfied that we went out and played hard.
“At Vanderbilt I felt like we gave a great effort,” said Harris, who has posted seven double-doubles this season. “The next games after that are Kentucky and Alabama. I thought we were able to defend well, play as a team and the outcome was in our favor.”
In the last two games, senior forward Cinmeon Bowers has averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds. “We need Cim to play like that for us to win, and he’s going to be able to do that consistently now that we have been able to get that flow going after losing those guys earlier in the season,” Harris said.
“Now, as a team, we know where our roles are for each player,” Harris added. “For a guy like Cim, who is able to rebound the ball really well and get guys involved and be able to score the ball around the basketball, that’s really going to help us and really going to expand our team throughout these next couple of games and finish out through the season.”