Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sent Home Porter-Less Auburn Upsets UF

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sent Home Porter-Less Auburn Upsets UF

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Forget about the Chris Porter Saga, or the overload of fouls that had Billy Donovan dodging technicals all game.

The Florida Gators lost 78-70 to Auburn in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament last night because they couldn't put the ball in the basket.

Or maybe, Donovan said, because Auburn had 44 chances to do so -- hitting 32 -- while standing at the free throw line.

"I'm upset [the officials] didn't allow us to play the game," said Donovan, who is now 3-4 in SEC tournament games in four seasons at UF. "It was ridiculous that they went to the free throw line 44 times compared to our 18. It's very difficult to play under those circumstances."

Compounding the situation was Florida's own problems from the floor. The Gators hit just 36 percent (26 of 71) for the game and 27 percent in the second half when Auburn never relinquished its halftime lead.

Just how crucial were the foul shots? Auburn (22-8) actually shot worse (33 percent) than Florida (24-7).

"We were missing shots all over the place," said UF guard Teddy Dupay. "We were missing layups, we were missing 3s, we were missing everything."

Auburn, meanwhile, wasn't missing Porter, its senior All-American forward who learned hours before the game that his final NCAA appeal was denied. Porter's career is over after accepting cash from a sports agent.

The way the Tigers played, it didn't matter, anyway. For a night, at least.

Senior Daymeon Fishback (21 points, 14 rebounds) had a career night, and the Tigers kept hitting free throws when they couldn't hit from the field. At one point in the first half, Auburn went eight minutes without a field goal and still had the lead, in part, because of 16 made free throws.

The Tigers hit 13-of-14 free throws over the last four minutes to seal the victory. The loss snapped a three-game losing streak for Auburn (22-8), which hadn't won since Porter was suspended. It also avenged a 29-point loss to Florida three weeks ago in Gainesville.

UF became the second SEC co-champion to lose in the second round of the tournament. Earlier in the day, Tennessee was upset by South Carolina, 75-68. …

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