Florida blasts No. 12 Auburn to secure key Quadrant 1 win

On3 imageby:Thomas Goldkamp02/10/24

It’s the time of year where big wins can make or break an NCAA Tournament resume, and Florida had a chance to secure a massive one on Saturday when it hosted No. 12 Auburn.

Desperately in search of Quadrant 1 wins, Florida wasted absolutely no time going to work and secured an 81-65 win.

The Gators used a 9-0 run out of the gates to open up the lead, then never looked back. The team’s guards were electric in the win, while the big men were tasked with slowing down Tigers star Johni Broome inside.

They were up to the task.

Broome finished with 12 points and seven rebounds but needed 10 shots to secure his point total. He played 28 minutes and had a far less significant impact than he is accustomed to.

Meanwhile, Florida had scoring outbursts from three of its guards. Sophomore Riley Kugel led the way with 22 points, while Walter Clayton Jr. had 20 points and Zyon Pullin finished with 19 points.

Three-point shooting was one of the key differences in the game, with Florida knocking down seven 3-pointers and Auburn making just three. That was the most glaring statistical difference in the matchup.

The other might have been the stamina for each team.

Florida was coming off a week-long break, while Auburn played during the middle of the week. And it was pretty clear the Gators had an edge in overall energy pretty early, something boosted by a raucous home crowd and sustained by that crowd’s energy.

The Gators won a physical contest, too, with a 43-41 edge in rebounding and a respectable 40-38 deficit in points in the paint.

Florida’s next game will be Tuesday night at home against LSU, while Auburn’s next contest will be on Wednesday against No. 15 South Carolina. South Carolina is currently on a seven-game winning streak and shares the lead in the SEC standings.