Auburn's Cinmeon Bowers applies defensive pressure on Kasey Hill, but it wasn't enough for the Tigers
By Charles Goldberg
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Cinmeon Bowers kept doing his thing for Auburn, but Florida continued to do what it does best against the Tigers on Thursday night.
Florida beat Auburn 75-55 in O'Connell Center for the 18th time in their last 19 meetings despite Bowers' 10th double-double of the season. The Tigers haven't beaten Florida in a regular-season game since 1999 and haven't won in Gainesville since 1996.
The Tigers shot a chilly 22 percent in the first half and showed signs of missing home, where they're 8-1 in the Auburn Arena, but now 9-7 overall and 1-2 in the SEC. Florida improved to 10-6 overall and 3-0 in the league.
The ring of the Florida-Auburn series is beginning to spill over to the rest of the SEC as well. Florida has won 24 straight against SEC teams. The Tigers will try to bounce back against South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Auburn Arena.
"That road loss is over. I've got a game Saturday and that's my focus," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
Pearl said the Tigers didn't do enough Thursday around the basket, didn't make the extra pass in the first half and found themselves in a hole too deep to escape.
"They scored 36 points in the paint without a post-up game. They drove it right at us and we weren't able to defend," Pearl said.
Pearl lamented the fact Florida didn't commit many turnovers, either.
"I can't remember an SEC game where my team didn't turn people more than nine times," he said.
It didn't help Auburn had more fouls (17) than baskets made (16).
Bowers finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Antoine Mason scored 13, and they were around when Auburn cut a 24-point second-half deficit to 10 points with five minutes to play.
"We don't ever stop playing until the game is over," said Auburn guard KT Harrell. "We never thought we were out of it. We just kept playing."
Florida did, too. The Gators regained their momentum, sprinting away from that 10-point lead for a 20-point win.
All 10 Gators scored, and with plenty of time to spare. Dorian Finney-Smith led the way with 14 points.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine