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Rosario, Florida dominate Auburn 83-52

The SportsXchange

AUBURN, Ala. -- Florida is learning to bring its intensity on the road in the Southeastern Conference.

Behind a season-high 22 points from senior Mike Rosario, No. 7 Florida dominated throughout in its 83-52 win over Auburn at Auburn Arena on Saturday.

Florida (21-3, 11-1 SEC) made sure its first road game since losing 80-69 at Arkansas was a laugher. The Gators led 47-22 at halftime and extended their lead to as many as 36 points in the second half.

"Going on the road and performing like this is hard for some teams like us because we have a target on us, being one of the top teams in the country and top teams in our conference," Rosario said. "I feel like it takes a lot of concentration and preparation to go on the road and get a victory."

Freshman Michael Frazier II scored 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, and Kenny Boynton added 16 points for the Gators (20-3, 11-1 SEC). Senior forward Erik Murphy added 11 points and point guard Scottie Wilbekin had six points and 10 assists.

Auburn (9-16, 3-9 SEC) suffered its worst home loss since Jan. 30, 1952, when Kentucky blew out the Tigers 88-48. Chris Denson led the Tigers with 13 points, and freshman Jordan Price scored 12 off the bench.

"We played a veteran, experienced team and they proved why they are one of the best teams in the league and in the country," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "I told our guys I was disappointed with our overall defensive intensity and attention to detail."

The Gators made a season-high 15 3-pointers, shooting 50 percent from that range. Defensively, Florida held its opponent under 60 points for the 18th time this season. The Gators moved the ball well throughout the game, finishing with 25 assists and just nine turnovers.

"We had good ball movement, good player movement and at times I thought we did a really, really good job defensively," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

Rosario helped the Gators get off to a strong start. The 6-foot-3 senior guard scored nine of their first 16 points, including a 3-pointer that gave them a 16-6 lead.

Rosario followed up a beautiful hanging reverse layup with a steal and three-point play on a breakaway layup to extend Florida's lead to 25-10. Murphy then hit a 3-pointer to put Florida ahead 28-12.

A 3-pointer by Auburn's Noel Johnson cut Florida's lead to 37-22. But the Gators closed the half with a 10-0 run. Boynton and Frazier hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Rosario followed with a 17-footer to put Florida up 45-22. After an Auburn miss, Wilbekin hit a jumper in the lane with 1.6 seconds left to put Florida up 47-22 at halftime.

Rosario scored 18 first-half points. Florida shot 60 percent from the floor (18 of 30) and 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from 3-point range. The Gators also scored 16 points off 10 first-half Auburn turnovers.

NOTES: Boynton made his 129th start for the Gators, a school record. Boynton passed former Gator and NBA forward Andrew DeClercq, who made 128 starts at Florida from 1992 to 1995. ... Junior Chris Denson started for Auburn in place of leading scorer Frankie Sullivan, who came off the bench. ... Scouts from the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Utah Jazz attended the game. ... Florida won its fifth straight against Auburn and has won 15 of the last 16 meetings.
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