Anfernee McLemore (above) scores inside for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Florida won its seventh consecutive basketball game as the Gators burned Auburn with hot shooting inside, from behind the three-point arc and at the foul line on the way to a 114-95 victory on Tuesday night.
The Gators hit 55.9 percent of their field goals, were 11-19 on threes and 37-42 at the foul line to improve to 21-5 overall and 11-2 in the SEC.
Auburn dropped a second consecutive game to fall to 16-10 overall and 5-8 in the SEC.
Auburn hung with the Gators for a half, but had no answer after that as the visitors scored nine quick points to begin the second period and were never seriously threatened after that.
Auburn hit 31-73 field goals (42.5 percent) and was 6-21 on threes and 27-39 at the foul line.
The Tigers had a 35-34 edge in rebounds and turned the ball over 11 times, two fewer than the Gators, but that didn’t matter on a night the Gators shot so well.
“Florida is a great team and they are engaged on both ends of the floor,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, who added, “They can shoot it from three, they can play fast. I think that is a team that can go far in the tournament.
“We played well offensively, for the most part, and we continue to struggle to defend,”?Pearl said. “Most of the guys in our locker room are better offensively than they are defensively.
“For me, I am always a glass half full...Florida holds teams under their averages and we were able to score against a pretty good defensive team,” Pearl said after his team was the first to score more than its average vs. the Gators in a regulation.
Six Tigers scored in double figures led by a season-high 19 from Anfernee McLemore, who hit 8-10 field goals. “We just didn’t play as intense as we did the first half,” the backup freshman center said when asked about being outscored 64-45 in the second period.
T.J. Dunans scored 13 points while Ronnie Johnson added 12 points while Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley scored 11 apiece.
Canyon Barry put on a show offensively as the Gator graduate transfer led all scorers with 30 points. Kevaughn Allen added 17 points while Devin Robinson added 14 points.
“He is just a terrific player who moves so well without the basketball,” Pearl said of Barry.
There was plenty of action in the opening half. Auburn led by as many as eight points and the Gators built a six-point advantage, but at intermission the game was tied 50-50.
Auburn got 11 points in the period from Dunans and 10 from Purifoy. Barry came off the bench to score 19 first half points for the Gators.
At the break the Tigers were hitting 40 percent from the field (16-40), 5-11 on threes and 13-17 at the foul line. The Gators were hitting 53.6 percent (15-28) 4-10 threes and 16-18 free throws.
The Tigers were plus one in rebound margin at the break and turned the ball over six times, four less than Florida.
Florida coach Mike White said, “It was nuts” that his team won by 19 points despite struggling to stop Auburn from scoring and not winning the turnover or rebound battles.
“They were fantastic offensively,” White said. “They are just very difficult to defend. Good for us it was one of those nights we found a way to make a lot of shots and free throws.”
Florida's Kasey Hill (above) looks for room to shoot vs. Danjel Purifoy.
Florida's Barry said, "We kind of went through a tough stretch in the first half and luckily I was able to make some shots and keep us in it., but you have got to give credit to the maturity of this team. We never panicked--never got out of character.
"We came together at the start of the second half and executed better offensively," he added.
Worth Noting, Part 1: Florida has now won 10 consecutive matchups vs. the Tigers.
Worth Noting, Part 2: Mustapha Heron finished with nine points, his first game this season he finished short of 10 points. “He got good looks--he wasn’t able to finish,”?Pearl said.
Worth Noting Part 3: Florida’s 114 points are the most by an Auburn opponent in a game played at Auburn Arena. The previous high was in a 111-92 loss by Coach Tony Barbee’s Tigers to Northwestern State on Nov. 15, 2013.
Stat of the Game: Florida hit 18-31 field goals in the second half, including 7-9 threes, on the way to scoring 64 points in the period.
Up Next: The Tigers play at 3 p.m. CST Saturday at Texas A&M.