Gators stop slide, upset No. 12 Auburn, 72-66

112
3855
Florida guard KeVaughn Allen goes in for a layup Saturday against Auburn at the O'Connell Center. The Gators beat the Tigers 72-66. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

 

It wasn’t a called play, nothing special, nothing drawn up on a napkin or on a whiteboard.

It was just the play of the game.

“It was just Chris Chiozza,” said Jalen Hudson.

With the Florida basketball team leaking oil again, a 14-point second-half lead erased and less than 30 seconds to play, Chiozza found Hudson cutting to the basket for a big three-point play and Florida made just enough free throws the rest of the way to beat 12th-ranked Auburn 72-66 at Exactech Arena.

An electric crowd of 10,503 finally was able to celebrate a win after three straight losses for Florida, now 18-11 and 9-7 in the SEC.

Chiozza’s pass to Hudson underneath and his ensuing free throw made the difference in Florida finding a way to not squander a big night from KeVaughn Allen, who led the Gators with 24 points.

“I just saw him take off,” Chiozza said. “They were trying to match up but nobody saw him. I knew if I gave him a good pass he would make it.”

It was the last of 12 assists for Chiozza and Hudson’s made free throw on the play gave the wingman 19 points for the night. Florida also got 12 points and six rebounds from freshman Dontay Bassett, making his first start.

Three usual UF starters — Allen, Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone — sat on the bench at the beginning of the game because they were late to a team meeting Friday night.

It was the second time this season for Allen, but while he may need a watch he did find his shot.

After starting 0-for-5, Allen caught fire, making six straight shots, including a 75-footer at the buzzer to close out the first half, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

“I was surprised that it went in because from the angle that I was at it didn’t look like it was going to go in at all,” Allen said. “It looked like it curved at the last second.”

Allen’s performance came after another long meeting Thursday with UF coach Mike White about being aggressive. Even when he missed the first five shots, Allen didn’t hesitate and made 8 of his last 10.

“I just pushed through it and not think about my missed shots and stay aggressive because my team needed it,” said Allen.

Florida needed Allen because Egor Koulechov went 2-for-12 and Chiozza continued his free throw slump that has seen him miss eight of his last nine  free throws.

“The last two games, I don’t know what’s happened,” Chiozza said. “I had a couple go in and out. I’m not too worried about it.”

The win was a big one for the Gators, who have been battling to stay in the mix for an NCAA bid. Auburn, now 24-5 and 12-4 in the conference, came in with an RPI that was 6th in the country.

“I hope it makes us feel good for about an hour,” White said. “We play in Tuscaloosa (against Alabama) on Tuesday. This current Gator team has not handled success well.”

It will be a different situation on the road Tuesday, but the crowd Saturday night was bouncing off the walls.

“It was on fire,” White said. “It was a great college basketball environment.  Arguably the best of the year and they were just rocking.”

Said Chiozza, “The whole game I felt like they were out there on the court with us.”

Mustapha Heron, who missed Auburn’s last game with the flu, led the Tigers with 22 points.

Florida led the game by two when Hudson blocked an Auburn 3-point attempt by Bryce Brown and Chiozza was fouled. But Chiozza missed both free throws and after a questionable review gave Auburn the ball, the Tigers tied it on a pair of Jared Harper free throws.

Chiozza then found Hudson breaking free underneath for the three-point play that made it 69-66 Florida with 26.8 seconds to play.

Harper then missed a 3 with 16 seconds to go and Koulechov snagged the rebound. Koulechov made one of his free throws and Auburn again missed a 3 on the other end.

Allen’s final two free throws put the nail in the coffin.

Despite missing a wide-open dunk, a lay-up and allowing Auburn an unguarded basket on an inbounds play, Florida found itself leading by nine at the break thanks to a sudden hot hand from Allen.

Allen made consecutive 3-pointers late in the half to put Florida in the lead, then nailed the three-quarter court shot at the buzzer to make it 33-24 at the half.

Florida forced 13 first-half turnovers and limited Auburn to two made 3-point shots.

But Auburn came out firing in the second half with three made 3-point shots in the first four minutes that helped the Tigers cut what had blossomed into a 14-point lead for Florida to four.

Auburn finally took the lead with 3:53 to play on a 3 by Heron. But Hudson countered on the other end with one of his own.

Allen made a 3 to give UF a 63-62 lead, then another from the corner after two free throws by Heron to make it 66-64 and set up the dramatic finish.

“He’s so capable,” White said of Allen. “He’s an electric scorer.”

FLORIDA 72, No. 12 AUBURN 66
AUBURN (24-5)

Murray 3-5 4-5 10, Spencer 3-5 0-1 6, Brown 2-8 0-0 6, Harper 3-10 2-2 8, Heron 8-11 2-2 22, Okeke 5-11 0-0 12, Mitchell 0-2 0-0 0, Dunbar 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 25-56 8-10 66.

FLORIDA (18-11)

Bassett 5-6 2-3 12, Hudson 7-14 1-4 19, Okauru 0-2 0-0 0, Chiozza 3-5 1-5 8, Koulechov 2-12 1-2 7, Stone 0-2 0-0 0, Hayes 1-3 0-0 2, Ballard 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 8-15 2-2 24. Totals 26-59 7-16 72.

Halftime_Florida 33-24. 3-Point Goals_Auburn 8-23 (Heron 4-5, Okeke 2-5, Brown 2-6, Murray 0-1, Mitchell 0-1, Dunbar 0-2, Harper 0-3), Florida 13-28 (Allen 6-10, Hudson 4-6, Koulechov 2-8, Chiozza 1-2, Okauru 0-1, Stone 0-1). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Auburn 36 (Okeke 10), Florida 27 (Bassett, Koulechov 6). Assists_Auburn 13 (Brown 5), Florida 17 (Chiozza 12). Total Fouls_Auburn 18, Florida 13.

112 COMMENTS

    • TampaGator…I know and it would have been Mike White’s fault that Chiozza and Co all of sudden are bad free throw shooters for the insane fire Mike White camp. Pretty simple to me…injuries have affected the rotations, and Allen has not been himself, and if 2 of the 3 other play makers play poorly, hard to win consistently.

  1. Wow, White didn’t lose tonight as a favorite! Congrats to him. When Florida is favored, his record is now 13-9.

    They’ll lose to Alabama and Kentucky. When they drop their opener in the SEC tourney, that will put them at 18-14.

    They will not be invited to the Dance.

    • I hear you man. That’s this team…sometimes it’s like that…and the nature of the SEC as evidenced by the logjam at 2nd and 3rd place. It’s a wild year man. Perhaps Allen has found his stroke…and just in time! It’s been a rocky road…practicing with limited guys..not wanting to injure or fatigue you remaining guys. Finding a line up that works.

      I give props to Mike White…he may just get to the dance. We have enough good wins, it;s the bad losses that hurt.

      Next is what’s the over/under on how many posts that troll bf will submit?

  2. I like Bassett. Bassett is aggressive and not afraid to mix it up. Bassett had some nice offensive plays. Still very raw, but most improved player on the Gator team from the beginning of the season. I hope Coach White continues to start him. The most mystifying thing to me is Chris Chiozza from the free throw line going 1 out of his last 9. Chiozza was almost automatic for most of the year from the line. Made up for the free throws with his passing and defense.

  3. Lmao, they didn’t approve my previous posts… But, here’s the short version: Bf, your a clown, just look at your posts after the UT game….To EVERYONE ELSE, IF WE ALL STOP ACKNOWLEDGING HIS STUPIDITY, HE WILL GO AWAY.

  4. Of course they beat Auburn, when all is lost that’s what inconsistent teams do…they win some you wouldn’t have thought they won. BF is saying we wouldn’t win another game all season long…17-16. I bet we win the remainder of the regular season then streak to the SEC finals to only lose. That’s what I’m predicting. Every time this team gets us all in, they drop a game you feel like they are going to win.

    • Been saying that all year….crazy year, and Mike White has d=said so several times. The practices are even a chess match because you don’t want to risk injury. If some cats aren’t playing well, who do you go to? Crazy year…

  5. KeVaughn missed the first couple, then for the rest of the game he couldn’t miss, including the 70 footer. Its like White needs to take KeVaughn to a calming atmosphere spot, maybe a park bench at Lake Alice, and ask him “WHAT TURNS YOU ON/OFF, I WANT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW”? Hudson and Chiozza are the only guys showing up for ever game. You can sense some of the other young guys want to be the other three. It appears White is trying different combinations in practice to identify the other three. He hides his frustration well. White was honest enough in the post game interview to admit he doesn’t know which team will show up for the Alabama game. I now look forward to the reality Gator show Wednesday night to see which team shows.

    • Bassett plays like he wants to be there, and as good a night as Kevaughn had, his pattern this year has been to disappear for several games after one really good game. I hope that’s not the case here because the team really needs him at this point in the season. Don’t know which team will show up against Bama, but a win against Kentucky should get them in the tourney. Let’s hope Okauru gets lots of playing time also.

  6. Hey posters, got a strong message for all who want to banter back and forth with BF. You must simply ignore his posts, otherwise you are playing into his court. He relishes conflict and getting in your face. Be smart guys, do not comment back at all and he might catch on that nobody is reading his posts. Psychology 101.

  7. I just love the Monday morning quarterbacks that appear in the comments. Bassett had a great game and they probably would not have won without him. Coach tried to get him playing time throughout the year but he always got in foul trouble. Last few games he has shown much improvement.
    Now for bf whoever you are. Obviously you are an Auburn fan. Congrats on Bruce Pearl; exiled from Tenn for cheating and now at Auburn where he had to fire Chuck Person for cheating. YOu better do well in the tournament this year because Pearl is probably not long for coaching. White has been at Florida for three years and made the elite eight last year. Well respected by everyone but jealous you and a few dumb fans. Love to watch your coach make an idiot of himself on the sideline. Sends his player to argue with the ref. Sweats enough to make the court a swimming pool, and yells enough to look like a clown. How’s Bobby Louden doing? Is he your father? So you voted for Tump. Hey you can join him and Pearl in jail along with Chuck Person.

  8. Congratulations. It was a good win. KA finally decided to show up. Welcome back. Don’t get lost again. KA had some friends show up with him as well. DB and JH had good games as well. Now, the team could only play like this every game they would be pretty good.

    But this game was a microcosm of the whole season. The team got out to an early 14 point lead and could not hold the lead in the second half. They not only lost the lead and even went down. However, this time they found a way to come back and win. They did it at home. They need to do that on the road. Free throw shooting continues to be a major problem. It almost cost us the game. Likewise, not defending the 3 almost cost us the game.

    The biggest difference was that we had KA (MIA the whole season) and JH scoring 20+ each. If they score 20+ every game we can win against anyone.

  9. Damn, the blind, shallow, Gator fans are frothing at the mouth! One win over a good team and they’re back on the bandwagon! But….. they’ll be jumping off again after Alabama on
    Tuesday night! Then, Kentucky will come in and punk’em! White will then end this once promising season with a loss in the SEC tourney opener.

    White supporters are going to learn a lesson on Selection Sunday, perhaps a hard lesson — Do Not Lie To Yourself And Don’t Post Your Lies On Here!

    The show starts and you’re already nervous. Then comes the lump in the throat that won’t go away. Oh s**t, three regions have been announced and still no Florida Gators! Five minutes later, the pin has been applied to your balloon. The Gators were left out! The Gators were left out!

    Get real, people!
    They don’t deserve to be in the field and they won’t be in the field!
    If White stays, they won’t be in it next season either.
    White took a potential Final Four team all the way to the NIT!

  10. I think bf is going to set another bs record with posts on this page. And then, he bravely appears as “Mikey” and as other people as well. And Mikey once hated Trump. Now, he loves him. It is what trolls do. Sad for them and him.

  11. Process this one: The Gators have only been underdogs FIVE times this season
    (Duke, Cincy, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Tennessee) — only five — and WILL BE
    LEFT OUT of the NCAA tourney.

    How in the hell can that be?! Mike White is the coach. Not difficult to understand, folks.

  12. Okay, time for you White supporters to gloat — for just a short time though!

    Lunardi’s bracketology, updated just now, has the Gators a 6-seed.

    The real Gators — that being the Mary Poppins Gators — arrive in Tuscaloosa tomorrow night and Alabama will put a beat down on her — very much like what happened in Gainesville!

    After that, with losses to Kentucky and their first SEC tourney game, White’s team will
    not be selected for the Dance. Sorry, guys.

    They’ve played all year like an NIT team and they’ll be an NIT team. There’s always next year, right? After all, we do have the horses coming back, yes?

  13. PERFECT STORM GAME.
    HIGHLY RANKED TEAM THAT JUST LOST KEY PLAYER.
    A TEAM THAT UF HAS OWNED.
    A TEAM W/O GOOD INSIDE SCORER.

    STILL A GREAT WIN.
    AUBURN AND UF ARE VERY MUCH ALIKE.
    AUBURN JUST HAS PLAYED BETTER IN THE LAST 5 MINUTES OF GAMES.

    THE GREAT BACK TO BACK NC TEAMS ALWAYS PLAYED ALL OUT LIKE THEY BELIEVED THEY WOULD LOSE IF THEY DID NOT PLAY ALL OUT.
    THEY NEVER ASSUMED OR MAIL IN A GAME.

    IF THIS TEAM PLAYED THAT WAY THEY WOULD BE TOP 15 TEAM CAPABLE OF BETTING ANYONE ON A GIVEN DAY.

    PRACTICE SHOULD BE CHEESE, 3GOR, ALLEN HUTSON, STONE, OKARU, SHOOTING TWO HUNDRED 3’S AND 100 F/T.

    PLAY ALL OUT VERY FAST HIGH PRESSURE.
    THEN SUB IN OKARU, BASSETT, BALLARD, GAK, HAYES. (PLAY SLOW)
    TO PLAY UNTIL “A” TEAM IS READY TO RETURN.
    USE TIME OUTS, END OF PERIODS ETC TO GIVE “A” TEAM EXTRA BREAK.

    UF IS NOT SHOWN TO BE A GOOD 1/2 COURT TEAM, THUS THE PROBLEM AT END OF GAMES TRYING TO HOLD LEADS.

    PLAY TO BLOW OTHER TEAM OUT, SO END OF GAME DOES NOT MATTER.

  14. NO MORE STANDING AROUND, AFTER EVERY PASS THAT PLAYER SHOULD GO HARD TO THE BASKET.
    TWO OTHER PLAYER SHOULD BE GOING TO SPOT UP OR RECEIVE PASS .

    CHEESE, 3 GOR, ALLEN, HUTSON, STONE, OKARU NEED TO BE READY TO SHOOT WHEN THEY GET THE BALL. FEET SET, SHOULDERS SQ, ETC.
    THEY SEEM TO OFTEN NOT BE READY TO SHOOT WHEN THEY GET THE BALL.
    THEY ARE ALL GREAT SHOOTERS.
    HOW ABOUT HAVING SHOOTER FOLLOW SHOOT FOR THE REBOUND?
    EVERYONE ELSE GET BACK.
    EVERYONE BLOCK OUT OR GO HARD FOR DEF REBOUNDS.

    BASICS

    I STILL BELIEVE THIS TEAM COULD CATCH FIRE AND GO ON RUN.

    THEY CAN BEAT ANYBODY, IF THEY JUST LEARNED TO PLAY ALL OUT ALL THE TIME.

  15. Attention Mike White lackeys! Bettors must love your Gators! Damned idiots.

    Most recent odds for selected SEC teams to win the NCAA title: Tenn 20-1, Florida 25-1, Auburn 33-1, Tex A&M 40-1, Alabama 40-1, Mizzou 40 -1 and Kentucky 50-1.

    Why don’t a few of you who think the sun sets in White’s a••, put a little money on Florida plus 2.5 points tomorrow?!