Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles, Gators Move to Round 2 Haslem Has Perfect Shooting Night in Victory over Auburn

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles, Gators Move to Round 2 Haslem Has Perfect Shooting Night in Victory over Auburn

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer

ATLANTA -- The University of Florida wasn't perfect against Auburn last night. But Udonis Haslem was.

Haslem made all seven of his shots from the field and all eight of his free-throw attempts to help the 11th-ranked Gators overcome a slugglish first half and beat the Tigers 81-63 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament at the Georgia Dome.

Haslem, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:11 to play, helped the Gators advance into today's second-round matchup against Mississippi State.

"It was a good night," Haslem said. "I was fortunate enough to get the ball in a great area to be able to score. I don't think I played perfect. I got a couple of lucky bounces."

Haslem scored 12 of his points in the second half, and along with Brett Nelson's 23 points, helped the Gators distance themselves from an Auburn team that kept the game close in the first half by controlling the tempo. Auburn, which had lost to Florida 89-61 on Feb. 20 in Gainesville, trailed by only two points at halftime.

At one point in the second half, Haslem and Nelson accounted for 26 of the 28 points the Gators scored. Included in that stretch was three of Nelson's six 3-pointers. But it was Haslem who dominated, especially because the Tigers were without post player Kyle Davis (broken wrist). They were forced to play freshman Marco Killingsworth on Haslem, and the senior from Miami had his way in the lane.

"They didn't have an answer for him up front," forward Matt Bonner said. "When he plays like that it's tough to beat us because we play off that. We throw it inside and when they try to collapse on him he kicks it out to the guys on the perimeter to make 3s."

What Haslem said he was most proud of, though, was that he had no turnovers and three assists.

It wasn't until the second half that Haslem really began to wear Auburn down. His two free throws with 17:16 to play was the beginning of the Haslem-Nelson run. Haslem scored all 12 of his second-half points in that stretch, with no shot longer than 5 feet. …

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