Auburn coach Tony Barbee talks to Allen Payne in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)The Associated Press
Florida's Mike Rosario puts in a reverse lay-up in the first half againt Auburn in their NCAA college basetball game on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)The Associated Press
Florida's Mike Rosario shoots a three pointer in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)The Associated Press
Florida's Patric Young shoots over Auburn's Rob Chubb in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 in Auburn, Ala.(AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)The Associated Press
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn's Frankie Sullivan is tired of facing the same questions following loss after loss — and having no satisfactory answers.
The Tigers got off to a slow start and never recovered in an 83-52 loss to No. 7 Florida on Saturday that was the program's worst home drubbing in 61 years.
Now, Auburn (9-16, 3-9 Southeastern Conference) has lost nine of 10 games.
"If I knew the answer I would try to fix it right away, because it's getting to a point that it's getting redundant and embarrassing after every game," Sullivan said. "That's not what you want from your career."
The Gators made the extra passes, hit a season-high 15 3-pointers and pretty much confounded Auburn's shooters in a systematic rout.
Mike Rosario scored a season-high 22 points, Kenny Boynton had 16 and the Gators (21-3, 11-1) raced to a 25-point halftime lead.
"We had 25 assists in the game but you don't get 25 assists unless the ball goes in the basket, and the ball went in the basket for us," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.
It really was just that simple.
The game matched the worst loss for Auburn in coach Tony Barbee's three seasons, tying a 90-59 defeat against Mississippi on Feb. 16, 2011. It also was the Tigers' worst home loss since an 88-48 blowout by Kentucky in 1952.
The Gators have won their last three SEC games by an average of 24 points since their only league loss at Arkansas.
Rosario had 18 points — two shy of his previous high this season — by halftime, when the game was effectively over. Michael Frazier added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range for Florida, which has won seven straight at Auburn.
Erik Murphy added 11 points and went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
Chris Denson led Auburn with 13 points and Jordan Price had 12.
Barbee said his team "just ran into a buzz saw."
"We played a veteran, experienced team and they proved why they are one of the best teams in the league and in the country," Barbee said. "I told our guys I was disappointed in the overall defensive intensity and attention to detail. You have to learn playing against teams like that. They have a veteran group now that has been doing it together for a couple of years, so you see why they play with such chemistry on the offensive and defensive end of the floor."
It was a precision performance by one of the SEC's hottest teams against one that is struggling badly, losing nine of 10.
The Gators hit 31 of 54 shots (57 percent) from the floor and held Auburn to 19-of-54 shooting (35 percent).
"We shot a lot of 3s and when we're shooting like that, it's hard to beat a team," Donovan said.
Especially when the stat sheet also includes numbers like this: assists on 25 of 31 baskets and 18 points off Auburn's 14 turnovers.
Boynton broke Andrew DeClercq's school record with his 129th career start and hit four 3-pointers in nine attempts. Rosario scored on drives, including a nifty reverse layup, and hit a couple of 3s. He also dished out five assists and Boynton had four.
Scottie Wilbekin had six points, 10 assists and three steals for the Gators.
Rosario and the Gators did pretty much whatever they wanted in the first half and jumped ahead 13-3, making the Tigers look helpless to defend the outside shooters or stop darting drives. They also kept Auburn's offense off balance as it struggled to find decent shots.
The final shot of the first half showed how easy it was for Florida. Wilbekin worked the clock down and then pulled up for a long jumper over Noel Johnson with 2 seconds left. Auburn didn't score in the final 3:56.
The lead surged to 36 with 8 minutes left.
The Tigers got little production from seniors Rob Chubb and Sullivan, the team's leading scorer. Chubb had one point, didn't play in the second half and missed all four field goal attempts with four turnovers after Auburn went inside to him several times in the opening minutes.
"I think Rob is still fighting," Barbee said. "He just isn't very good right now. What can I say? He is not very good. He isn't getting it done."
Sullivan came off the bench for the second straight game and had eight points in 19 minutes.