NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Erik Murphy scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds to help the 13th-ranked Florida Gators take the first step Friday toward trying to add a Southeastern Conference tournament title to their regular season championship by beating LSU 80-58.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive presented Florida coach Billy Donovan with the regular season trophy before tipoff. Then the Gators (25-6) started working toward their first tournament title since 2007 when they wrapped up a three-peat. They will play either Tennessee or Alabama in the semifinals Saturday.
Scottie Wilbekin added 16 points, matching his career-best with four 3-pointers. Michael Frazier II had 11 and Patric Young 10 for Florida.
Ninth-seeded LSU (19-12) tried to keep up with the rested Gators but looked a step slow with too many shots just short a day after beating Georgia to advance.
Charles Carmouche led the Tigers with 14 points.