NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Alex Tyus scored 24 points, and Florida snapped a three-game skid by beating Auburn 78-69 Thursday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Coach Billy Donovan didn't want to discuss how many wins his Gators need to ensure their first NCAA tournament berth since they won their second straight national title in 2007. Now Florida (21-11), already 7-0 against the SEC West, has a chance to add another win Friday night against Mississippi State, the West's No. 1 seed, in the quarterfinals.Auburn (15-17) beat Florida in the quarterfinals last year. But the Tigers now have lost 12 of 13 games to Florida in what could be coach Jeff Lebo's final game with Auburn.Chandler Parsons scored 21 points for Florida, and Vernon Macklin had 10.Frankie Sullivan scored a career-high 27 points for Auburn. DeWayne Reed added 18 and Lucas Hargrove 11.