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GAME RECAP: Auburn 76, Florida 62

Auburn’s back above .500 in the league and it’s time everyone else watch out.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers broke a 20-year regular season losing streak to Florida and pulled away late at Auburn Arena to win 76-62 and sweep the home stretch on the Plains. With the win, Auburn’s record now stands at 5-4 thanks to tonight’s fantastic effort from Chuma Okeke and Samir Doughty, with the former playing one of his best games after leaving early with an injury.

Auburn held a halftime lead despite the Gators’ best efforts to muddle things through in the first twenty minutes. The Tigers did well to lead 36-30 at the break even with Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke missing time early due to minor injuries. Both players would return, and Okeke especially would have a huge impact with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and a pair of assists, but it was Samir Doughty’s half as he scored 10 points and grabbed 3 boards. Auburn finally extended the lead to more than two possessions on Doughty’s three with 8:08 to go in the first half as they led 28-19, but Doughty’s layup pushed the margin to double digits right after that. Florida did make up some ground at the end of the half, hitting 4 of their final 5 shots, including a buzzer beater layup from KeVaughn Allen as the horn sounded.

After halftime, Auburn quickly built a 45-34 lead thanks to a layup and a long logo three-pointer from Jared Harper, and the lead bloomed to 18 midway through the half on Samir Doughty’s steal and epic stuff. The Tigers led 67-49 with 8:28 to go, but Florida made a run. The Gators cut into the lead and trimmed it down to 10 points after a solid streak, but the Tigers hit a few free throws to stop that run. With 1:47 to go, Auburn led 71-60, and Chuma Okeke closed the door by stealing an inbound pass, going coast-to-coast, and laying it in while drawing a foul. Florida had to resort to fouls after that, and Auburn clinched it at the free throw line, winning 76-62.

Bryce Brown led the Tigers in scoring 14 points, but it was Chuma Okeke’s 11 points and 8 rebounds, and Samir Doughty’s 12 points that paced the Tigers early on. Florida was led by 11 points from Kevarrius Hayes. Auburn improves to 5-4 in the SEC, 16-6 overall, and breaks that six-way tie for fifth place in the league standings. Now Auburn is tied with Arkansas at 5-4, just a game back of South Carolina.