Men's Hoops Defeats Auburn 73-70

Matt Bonner scored 23 points and went 3-of-4 from the free throw line over the final 23 seconds Saturday as No. 4 Florida survived a late rally and beat Auburn 73-70.

The Gators (24-4, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) set the school record for regular-season wins and have won six of seven.

The Tigers (18-9, 7-7) wiped out most of a 14-point deficit over the final 6:28 using Florida's biggest weapon: the 3-pointer.

Marquis Daniels hit two free throws to cut it to 70-67 with 54 seconds left, the closest Auburn had come since trailing 22-20 25 minutes earlier.

Bonner drove to the basket and was fouled after the Gators milked 31 seconds off the shot clock. He made two free throws with 23 seconds left and Daniels missed a 3 at the other end with Bonner collecting the rebound.

He hit one of two free throws with 8.1 seconds left. Auburn's Lewis Monroe hit a 3-pointer Auburn's 10th at the buzzer for the final margin.

The Tigers have lost seven of their last 10 and are in danger of missing the NCAA tournament after a fast start.

Bonner was 8-of-13 from the field and had eight rebounds as the Gators had assists on all but five of their 25 field goals. Brett Nelson had 12 points and five assists. He was 3-of-5 from 3-point range for his first double-digit effort since a season-high 25 against LSU on Jan. 28.

David Lee had 12 points for the Gators.

Derrick Bird was 5-of-13 from 3-point range and led Auburn with 21 points and four assists. Marco Killingsworth added 14 points, including 12 in the second half to atone for a foolish foul in the first half.

Daniels, the league's No. 2 scorer, finished with 13 points after getting only two in the first half. He was held scoreless for a span of more than 15 minutes after getting four quick points to start the second half, but hit a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run that made it 63-57 with 2:43 left.

Kyle Davis had six points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots and three steals for the Tigers.

Florida, off to its best conference start, won 23 games in 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The Gators have won all six games against Western Division teams this season.

Auburn couldn't stop Bonner inside or out in the first half _ even with an errant elbow. Killingsworth was called for

an intentional foul after elbowing Bonner under Auburn's basket when the ball was already to midcourt.

He hit both free throws and scored 14 points before halftime as the Gators hit 6-of-11 3-pointers and went up 34-26. They were only 5-of-14 inside the arc.

The Gators will travel to Athens, Georgia to take on Georgia Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN.


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