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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Colleges

No. 7 Gators top Auburn


Published:

AUBURN, Ala. — Billy Donovan cautioned his Florida Gators before the game not to assume Casey Prather would instantly return to form after a two-game layoff.

Prather scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half in his comeback from a badly bruised right knee and helped No. 7 Florida survive a scare from Auburn in a 68-61 victory Saturday. Donovan’s warning proved unnecessary.

“That rule went out the window after the first half, when he had 16,” Donovan said. “He was clearly going to play a lot more since he played so well.

“I’m not so sure if he’s hurt again this game, that this is a game we could pull out.”

Prather made eight of 10 shots for the Gators (15-2, 4-0 Southeastern Conference), who have won nine straight games and eight in a row at Auburn (8-7, 0-4).

Donovan said Prather looked just OK in practice Thursday with no contact, but fared better the day before the game.

“He was like, ‘When you come back to practice, are you going to baby it or are you going to play?’ ” Prather said. “I said I was going to play.”

Tahj Shamsid-Deen hit a jump shot with 1:59 left to cut Florida’s lead to 62-61, but Scottie Wilbekin answered with a fadeaway jumper.

“We didn’t really have anything going on that possession,” Wilbekin said. “My first drive, I didn’t have anything so I tried to give it to Casey Prather coming around behind me.

“His man denied him, so I had to make another move and I just made it.”

Wilbekin converted two of four free throws during the final 48 seconds.

Patric Young blocked KT Harrell’s attempt to bring Auburn to within two points in between those trips to the line.

“They made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said.

FLORIDA (15-2) — Hill 0-2 7-8 7, Young 5-8 3-6 13, Wilbekin 4-7 6-8 16, Yeguete 1-2 2-4 4, Frazier II 0-2 0-0 0, Finney-Smith 3-6 0-0 7, Prather 8-10 5-7 21, D. Walker 0-2 0-0 0, Kurtz 0-0 0-0 0, Donovan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-39 23-33 68.

AUBURN (8-7) — Dixon-Tatum 0-3 0-0 0, Harrell 5-13 4-7 18, Payne 3-8 4-4 11, Denson 8-18 3-7 21, Shamsid-Deen 3-3 0-0 6, Wade 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 1-1 0-0 2, Canada 0-0 0-0 0, Atewe 0-0 3-4 3. Totals 20-46 14-22 61.

Halftime—Florida 33-32. 3-Point Goals—Florida 3-9 (Wilbekin 2-2, Finney-Smith 1-2, Hill 0-1, D. Walker 0-2, Frazier II 0-2), Auburn 7-13 (Harrell 4-7, Denson 2-5, Payne 1-1). Fouled Out—Canada, Shamsid-Deen. Rebounds—Florida 31 (Prather, Yeguete, Young 6), Auburn 23 (Payne 6). Assists—Florida 10 (Hill 3), Auburn 10 (Harrell, Shamsid-Deen 3). Total Fouls—Florida 18, Auburn 25. A—8,683.

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