Big second half carries Gators past Tigers

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 11 Florida caught fire to open the second half scoring its first five buckets all on 3-pointers, three by Kenny Boynton, en route to a 63-47 come-from-behind victory over Auburn in the O'Connell Center on Tuesday. The Gators made 7-of-12 three-point attempts in the second half.

After Auburn (14-13, 4-9) led 30-27 at the half, Florida (22-6, 10-3) made back-to-back 3-pointers from Boynton and Erving Walker to take a 33-30 lead. The Gators scored their first 15 points of the second half all on treys to lead 42-37 with 14 minutes to play. Gabriel limped off the floor for the second time and did not play the final 11:27 of the game. He finished with eight points in only 20 minutes.

The Gators made six of their first 10 3-point attempts after the break to take a 47-39 lead with 10:19 left. Florida increased its run to 18-5 to take a 51-39 lead with 6:30 to play, outscoring the Tigers 24-9 to open the second period.

"With as good as an explosive offensive team as Florida is, we kept them seven below their average, but we have to score," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "We had only 11 points in the first 18 minutes of the second half. They are a veteran seasoned team and you knew they were going to make a run, and we didn't have the firepower."

The Gators extended its lead to as large as 61-41 with 1:55 to go.

Auburn closed the first half on a 7-0 run in the final 1:42 with the last five points coming from Chris Denson on a 3-pointer and then a layup to beat the buzzer after a Tiger defensive stand with four seconds left on the other end. Auburn led 30-27 lead at intermission behind Adrian Forbes' nine points and four rebounds. Forbes finished with a career-high tying and team-high 11 points.

There were eight lead changes and two ties in tightly contested first period as the Tigers led for the third straight road game at the half.

Florida made its first six shots of the game while Auburn made four of its first five 3-point attempts as the Gators led 16-14 just over seven minutes in.

Florida was led by Boynton's 20 points on 6-of-9 three-pointers while Walker and Beal added 13 points each. Walker went 3-of-7 from behind the arc.

Florida shot a sizzling 53.5 percent from the floor and 52.4 percent from behind the arc on 11-of-21 three-pointers compared to Auburn's 33.3 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from 3-point range (6-of-17). The Gators outrebounded the Tigers 39-24, including 22-11 after the half. Auburn, which held Florida to 35 fewer points in its previous game, forced 18 Gator turnovers while the Tigers committed only nine.

Auburn plays host to Arkansas on Saturday at 3 pm Central in Auburn Arena on the SEC Network.