Gators Hold Off Tigers at the Foul Line

Auburn couldn't pull out a Southeastern Conference road victory on Thursday night at Florida.

Gainesville, Fla.--Florida hit 32-40 free throws and was able to hang on down the stretch to take a 78-70 SEC basketball victory over Auburn on Thursday night.

"It is a big difference when you get to the foul line more than your opponent," said Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, whose Tigers made 17-22 free thows in the game.

The Gators made only one field goal in the final 11:25 of the game, but hit 17-23 free throws during that stretch.

The Gators, who led 42-40 in the second half, went on a 12-1 and then held off Auburn comeback attempts by hitting free throw after free throw.

With the help of three late treys by Tay Waller, the Tigers had a chance to win the game until the final minute.

DeWayne Reed hit a pair of free thows with 23.7 seconds left to cut the margin to 74-70, but Chandler Parsons, who led the Gators in scoring with 17 points, hit two more free throws with 19.2 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Reed, who scored a game-high 22 points for the Tigers, made the contest interesting with 47.9 seconds left cutting the Florida lead to four points with a scoop and score play on which he was fouled and added a free throw. However, the Tigers scored just two more points after that.

Coach Billy Donovan's team improved to 18-8 overall and 7-4 in the SEC with the win while Auburn fell to 12-14 overall and 3-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Erving Walker, who didn't make a field goal, scored 14 points at the foul line for the Gators.

"Foul shots were the difference in the game," Lebo said. "That is 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."

Auburn made 23 field goals on 53 attempts while the Gators hit 22 field goals on 50 shots. Auburn hit 7-29 threes while Florida made 2-10.

"We didn't shoot the ball well," Lebo said. "Frankie (Sullivan) struggled shooting the basketball, and that hurt us a little bit." Sullivan made just 2-11 field goals and was 1-9 on three-point attempts.

The Tigers also hurt their cause by turning the ball over 16 times, eight more times than the home team.

Waller scored 13 points for the Tigers and Brendon Knox added 10.

Frankie Sullivan (left) battles for the basketball with Florida guard Erving Walker.

Lebo played 11 Tigers in the first half and nine scored in the opening period. Reed led the group with nine points.

The Gators held a 37-34 edge at intermission after hitting 13-26 field goals while Auburn made 12-26 shots, including 4-13 threes while the Gators hit 2-7 threes.

Florida's first half edge came by hitting 9-10 free throws while the Tigers made 6-8 before halftime.

Auburn returns to action with a 6 p.m. home game on Saturday vs. Arkansas.

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