Photo by Wesley Hitt / Getty Images


A bad pass from Auburn forward JT Thor lead to a floater in the paint by Florida guard Tre Mann. The next UF possession, Mann made another three before Thor gave the ball right back to the Gators once more.

This sequence, about three minutes into the game, defined the entire first half of Florida’s statement 74-57 victory over the Tigers on their home court.

Mann had the first double-double of his college career behind a mammoth opening half. He led the game with 16 first-half points on 7-9 shooting on his way to a 19point night. He grabbed his 10th rebound about midway through the second half before ending with 13 boards, the highest of his season and career.

Mann’s big night set the mood for one of the most lopsided halves of SEC basketball under Mike White as the Florida took a 44-22 lead to the locker room. Auburn couldn’t get out of their own way, turning the ball over an astonishing 13 times and shooting 3-16 (18.8%) from three and 7-23 (30.4%) from the court.

The Gators were hyper-efficient on offense in the opening twenty minutes, however, shooting 50% from the court (19-38) and from deep (5-10). Florida outrebounded the Tigers 22-17 while allowing just two offensive rebound and dominated Auburn in the paint, scoring 26 points inside while holding their opponents to only six.

Scottie Lewis came alive offensively in the first half as well, a sight for sore eyes for Florida fans. Lewis had 14 points by halftime as he and Mann outscored the Tigers on their own, 30-22. He finished with 16 points on 12 shots, his first double-digit game since Vanderbilt on Jan. 27 and just his second since he was forced out for health and safety reasons in early January.

The second half was fairly uneventful. The Gators never allowed Auburn within 15 points en route to a 17-point win, with no Florida player scoring double-digit points in the final twenty minutes. Tyree Appleby finished with a double-digit performance of his own, with nine of his 11 points coming in the second half.

Florida moved to 12-6 on the year and 8-5 in conference and will play again Saturday when they travel to Kentucky to play John Calipari and the Wildcats, who handed them a 76-58 loss at home Jan. 9.

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