The last time the Florida Gators played in Auburn Arena they scored only 45 total points. By halftime on Saturday the Gators had already scored 47, and that was almost all they needed as they routed the Auburn Tigers 83-52.
Playing against a severely overmatched team, the Gators did exactly what championship contenders should when their opponents aren’t up to snuff. Build a big early lead, and keep it going throughout the game.
By the 16-minute mark, the Gators were up 10-3. At the 12-minute mark, they were up 28-12. At halftime, the writing was already on the wall.
Redshirt senior Mike Rosario was undoubtedly the Gators’ most enigmatic player entering this season. Rosario was unreliable both on and off the court during his first two years in Gainesville. However, as of late, Rosario has looked like arguably the Gators’ best all-around player, and showed such with his 18-point first half performance.
Rosario scored the Gators’ first basket of the game on a short jumper and that proved to be an auspicious sign of things to come. By the time the Gators jogged into the locker room Rosario had already hit seven shots from the field. Kenny Boynton chipped in 10 first half points as the two players combined for more than half of UF’s scoring output.
The Auburn Arena crowd was focused on an upset heading into Saturday, but after the first half it was clear which direction the game was going. Facing a significantly less enthusiastic crowd in the second half, the Gators continued to coast as more players joined in on the fun.
Freshman Michael Frazier had a quiet first half as it seemed the Auburn game plan had alerted the Tigers players about the Tampa-native’s three-point prowess. After Rosario and Boynton got off to hot starts, the Tigers’ focus on Frazier appeared to wane as he knocked down 6 three-point shots en route to a 18 point night.
As the afternoon wore on, the Gators’ lead eventually swelled to over 30 points as it became increasingly clear that the SEC is certainly the weakest it’s been in a while.
Rosario ended the day with 22 points on 9-14 shooting, Kenny Boyton ended with 16 points on 5-11 shooting and Erik Murphy had 11 points 4-6 shooting.
The Gators will look to be to challenged in the upcoming week as they face a healthy Missouri squad on the road on Tuesday. Florida will also be looking to avenge their lone SEC-loss of the season this week as the Arkansas Razorbacks visit Gainesville next Saturday.