For the fourth game in a row, Auburn appeared poised to defeat a Southeastern Conference opponent but ultimately fell short in the final minutes.
Despite pulling within 3 points in the final minute, Auburn (8-7) would not be able to narrow the gap any further as No. 7 Florida (15-2) pulled away from the late Tigers' surge to evade the upset and win 68-61 in Auburn Arena.
Auburn lost two other heartbreaks to other SEC rivals a few weeks earlier: Ole Miss by 3 and Missouri by 2.
But coach Tony Barbee believes close just isn't good enough.
"There's no such thing as a moral victory," he said via AuburnTigers.com. "Losing is not our destiny. The breakthrough is coming. This team believes it. I believe it."
The Auburn dynamic duo of KT Harrell and Chris Denson combined for 39 points. The rest of the team scored 22.
Florida forward Casey Prather scored 21 points while guard Scottie Willbekin pitched in 16 of his own.
Excellent 3-point shooting kept the Tigers in the game. Auburn shot 53.8 percent from beyond the arc. Harell drained four of his seven attempts.
Florida maintained the No. 1 ranking in the SEC after remaining undefeated in conference play. Auburn, still winless in league play, continued to sit at the bottom with South Carolina.
Auburn will begin a two-game road trip Jan. 22. They will meet Mississippi State 12-5 (2-2) at Starkville, Miss. and play Arkansas 12-5 (1-3) at Fayetteville, Ark. three days later.