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February 19, 2014

Gator Gameday Florida vs. Auburn

GAME DAY LINKS: 'Changed' Wilbekin leading the way | UF-AU Game Day Thread

Auburn at No. 2 Florida
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: SUN/FSN / RADIO: Gator IMG Sports Radio Network, Sirius 108/XM 199
Auburn Tigers (12-11, 4-8 Southeastern Conference)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Mississippi State 92-82
G Tahj Shamsid-Deen (reached double figures scoring in eight of last 11 games) Fr. 5-10 163
G KT Harrell (had 18 points in his last game against Florida) Jr. 6-4 216
G Chris Denson (SEC's leading scorer averaging 20.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG) Sr. 6-2 181
F Allen Payne (more turnovers - 6 - than rebounds - 4 - in his last two games) Fr. 6-9 250
C Asauhn Dixon-Tatum (averages 5.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG) Sr. 7-0 226

Nebraska CornhuskersFlorida Gators (23-2, 12-0 SEC)
Streak: Won 17
Last Game: Defeated Kentucky 69-59
G Scottie Wilbekin (reigning SEC Player of the Week has played his last 73 minutes without committing a turnover) Sr. 6-2 176
G Michael Frazier II (went scoreless in last meeting with Auburn) So. 6-4 199
F Casey Prather (24 points against UK was his third-highest total of the season) Sr. 6-6 212
F Will Yeguete (two of four shots attempted in last two games have been from the 3-point line) Sr. 6-8 230
C Patric Young (shot 7 of 18 form the field last week) Sr. 6-9 240

Avoid a Denson and Harrell show

Auburn's offense runs almost solely through its two most prominent scoring threats. Denson and Harrell were the major reason why Florida needed a late push to defeat the Tigers by Seven in its January trip to Auburn Arena. That day, the duo -- which makes up 2/5 of the SEC's leading scorers -- went for a combined 39 points and shot 6 of 12 from beyond the arc. Wilbekin will see it as a personal challenge to guard the perimeter better but it will take more than him.
Let it fly

Florida's offense never quite clicked last time against Auburn. While it was hardly the first time this season that has happened, the complete lack of 3-point aggressiveness was noticeable. The Gators relied on drives to score, led by Prather with 21. Only nine 3-point shots were attempted, and Frazier went 0 for 2, losing confidence and falling out of the game. Billy Donovan was not pleased and will look for a more advantageous offensive possessions this go-round.
Stay locked in

All of the "one game at a time" and "back down to the cellar" talk from Donovan might be cliche but it is the only way to handle a team that will accomplish a school-record winning streak with a victory tonight. The Gators can not let what they have become a part of during a successful regular season grow larger than any individual game. A focused, motivated Florida team at home will defeat Auburn easily.

Donovan on why Auburn is tough to defend:

"Tony Barbee has done a really good job of putting Denson and Harrell in really difficult situations to defend those guys with the way they can score, put it down on the floor and shoot threes. It becomes very challenging and difficult to deal with those guys. When you do give those guys too much attention, it opens up offensive rebounding for Dixon-Tatum, Payne and their front court players. You look at they've won four of their last six games and are playing really good basketball."
Wilbekin on Denson and Harrell:

"I can't remember how many points they had against us last time, but I know they got off a little bit. They're capable of going off with big nights, both of them, so we've got to do a better job this game on limiting their straight-line drives and just playing better on-ball defense."

Florida 68-54: The Gators will be bordering another piece of program history in tonight's game. A win not only gives them the longest win streak in school history, it ties the UF record for best start in a season, matched only by the 2006-2007 national championship team. Auburn can give opponents fits with its offense but it simply does not have the firepower outside of Denson and Harrell to compete with Florida on its home floor.

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