Auburn vs. Florida score, takeaways: Gators upset No. 2 Tigers, beat highest-ranked opponent at home ever

Auburn vs. Florida score, takeaways: Gators upset No. 2 Tigers, beat highest-ranked opponent at home ever

Florida used a hot streak from behind the 3-point arc and a late defensive stand to knock off No. 2 Auburn 63-62 Saturday. Auburn, the highest-ranked team to lose to Florida at home, had a final chance to win the game after almost erasing a late deficit, but Wendell Green Jr.’s attempted pass to Walker Kessler was knocked away.

Florida led by eight points when Tyree Appleby hit a 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining for a 61-53 advantage. But Auburn roared back, going on an 7-1 run to cut Florida’s lead to 62-60. That lead fell to one point after Colin Castleton made one of his two free throws on the next possession, only for K.D. Johnson to knock down both of his own attempts.

Johnson also set up Auburn’s final attempt, getting a steal and calling timeout with 7.5 seconds left. But Green couldn’t penetrate the Florida defense, leading to a late prayer of a pass that didn’t have a real chance of getting to the Tigers’ big man.

Auburn entered Saturday’s action as the projected No. 2 overall seed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, with committee chairman Tom Burnett noting on CBS that the gap between the top three No. 1 seeds was close.

“First I would tell you that Gonzaga and Auburn in the committee room are very close,” Burnett said. “Razor thin I would even offer of the discussions — an extended discussion between these two teams. They have different opportunities but are very close in the room. Likewise I would tell you that Auburn and Arizona, that is also razor thin. Lots of discussion for those two for the No. 2 overall seed. Maybe a little more separation to Kansas in the 4 position, but certainly a high quality No. 1 seed line.”

CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm said he will likely move Auburn to the No. 3 overall seed when he updates his projected bracket as Arizona will jump to the No. 2 overall seed.

“The Tigers now have two OT losses and a one-point defeat, all away from home,” Palm said. “At least for now, Auburn will drop to No. 3 overall behind Arizona. There are still a lot of games to play today.”

Before the game, Florida (17-10, 7-7 SEC) came in at No. 53 in the NET rankings, meaning the road loss would count as a Quadrant I defeat for the Tigers (24-3, 12-2). Arkansas comes to Gainesville, Florida, on Tuesday, with Auburn hosts Ole Miss on Wednesday.

The victory was a big one for the Gators in terms of the bracket as well. Florida was one of the “first four out” at the beginning of the day, but beating a team projected to be a No. 1 seed, is a quality victory for the Gators.

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