Scores

Final

(11) Florida 81

(26-6, 10-6 SEC)

(19) LSU 65

(23-8, 14-2 SEC)

    3:15 PM ET, March 11, 2006

    Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    #11FLA 38 4381
    #19LSU 41 2465

    Top Performers

    Florida: J. Noah 15 Pts, 12 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    LSU: T. Mitchell 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    No. 14 Florida rips No. 17 LSU to advance to SEC final

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Taurean Green spent most of the night battling a stomach virus after Florida made to the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals.

    Lucky for the Gators, Green recovered in plenty of time to give them a chance to repeat as tourney champions.

    Green scored eight of his 18 points on three straight possessions late in the second half, and Florida (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) downed 17th-ranked LSU 81-65 Saturday to advance to the title game for the third straight year and sixth time overall.

    "I was a little bit concerned just because he was throwing up, and it was several times throughout the course of the night," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "He didn't get very much sleep."

    LSU led 64-59 when Green essentially sealed the victory within the span of 35 seconds. He hit only his second 3 of the game with 4:55 left, LSU forward Glen Davis missed a jumper, and Green hit another 3. He added a driving layup for a 72-59 lead.

    "That was huge in the game," LSU junior Darnell Lazare said. "We got in a hurry and panicked a little bit. We should have been more patient because we had enough time."

    Green, who received fluids intravenously, said he felt, "like I wasn't even sick last night."

    LSU, the regular-season champs, hadn't won a tournament title since 1980 or played in the championship game since 1993. With freshman Tyrus Thomas resting his sprained left ankle for the NCAA tournament, the Tigers (23-8) snapped a seven-game winning streak.

    Coach John Brady said his Tigers won the most important title in the regular season and the loss shouldn't affect their seeding, which he expects to be a No. 3.

    "We accomplished what we needed to here, and everyone knows we played without the freshman of the year for four straight games, and everyone knows he's going to be back next week and help our team be a little bit better than it is right now," Brady said.

    Joakim Noah scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Corey Brewer also had 15 points. Chris Richard added 10 rebounds and seven rebounds, and Al Horford had 10 for the Gators.

    Florida will play South Carolina on Sunday. The Gamecocks swept Florida in the regular season.

    "If you win it, you'll always be remembered," Brewer said of the title matchup.

    The Gators improved to 26-6 this season, the most games they have won not counting NCAA Tournament victories. The nation's best shooting team did it by hitting 54.4 percent from the floor.

    LSU led 41-38 at halftime but opened the second half by hitting only three of its first 13 shots. The Gators had no such problems and used a 14-7 spurt to go up 52-48 on a bucket by Richard.

    Noah slammed down a dunk that put Florida up 48-47 with 16:14 to go. Davis hit a free throw to tie it at 48, and the Tigers managed to tie it once more at 56 on a 3 by Darrel Mitchell. That was as close as they would get.

    Green capped a 16-3 run with his eight-point streak, and the Gators padded that down the stretch for their fourth straight victory.

    "You've got to guard every one of those guys," Brady said of the Gators. "There's no one guy out there you can't guard."

    Davis struggled hours after matching his career-high with 28 points in a 92-73 victory over Vanderbilt. Florida clamped down on him with a zone, and he had only two points in the first half and finished with 12.

    "We were just trying to contain him the best we could, and I think we did a pretty good job even though he got a lot of our front court in foul trouble," Noah said. "He's just a great player, and I'm just happy we got the win."

    Davis said one of the Tigers' weaknesses is executing against a zone, and they really need Thomas back.

    "He cuts a lot of slack off me and the rest of the team. We just hope he gets well and we can get all the way to the top," Davis said.

    Mitchell finished with a game-high 21 points for LSU. Tasmin Mitchell matched his career-high for a second straight game with 20, and Darrell Lazare had 10 starting in place of Thomas.

    The teams put on a shooting exhibition in the first half, only fitting for two of the SEC's three highest-scoring teams. Each led by as much as six in the half, and they swapped the lead five times.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    FLA
    LSU
    Points 81 65
    FG Made-Attempted 31-57 (.544) 24-54 (.444)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-18 (.333) 5-19 (.263)
    FT Made-Attempted 13-20 (.650) 12-18 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 16 6

    2005-06 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Feb 11, 2006 @FLA 71, LSU 62Recap
    » Mar 11, 2006 FLA 81, @LSU 65Recap