Auburn vs. Florida score: Tigers pull away in second half to win first SEC Tournament title since 2019

Auburn will head into the NCAA Tournament with momentum after beating Florida 86-67 in the SEC Tournament title game on Sunday. The No. 4 seed Tigers tore through No. 5 seed South Carolina, No. 9 seed Mississippi State and the No. 7 seed Gators on their way to the program's first league tournament crown since 2019.

That year, Auburn used the SEC Tournament championship to launch a Final Four run, and this year's squad has similar potential. After a 16-2 start, the Tigers went just 5-5 over their next 10 during the heart of conference play. But after closing the regular season on a three-game winning streak and tearing through the conference tournament, Auburn has found its stride again.

Johni Broome led the Tigers with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as Auburn avenged an 81-65 loss to the Gators in the only prior meeting last month. Zyon Pullin paced Florida with 15 points. The Gators trailed 38-30 at halftime but cut the deficit to 45-44 early in the second half before Auburn stretched out the advantage again with a quick 10-0 run. Playing their fourth game in four days, the Gators couldn't mount another charge, especially without starting center Micah Handlogten. The seven-footer exited the game in the opening minutes with a fractured left leg.

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2024 SEC Tournament schedule, scores

Location: Bridgestone Arena -- Nashville, Tennessee
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) | Follow live: CBS Sports App  

All times Eastern; some start times approximated

SEC Tournament Championship Game -- Sunday, March 17
Game 13: No. 4 Auburn 86, No. 6 Florida 67 | GameTracker

First round -- Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 12 Arkansas 90, No. 13 Vanderbilt 85 | Recap
Game 2: No. 11 Georgia 64, No. 14 Missouri 59 | Recap

Second round -- Thursday, March 14
Game 3: No. 9 Mississippi State 70, No. 8 LSU 60 | Recap
Game 4: No. 5 South Carolina 80, No. 12 Arkansas 66 | Recap
Game 5: No. 7 Texas A&M 80, No. 10 Ole Miss 71 | Recap
Game 6: No. 6 Florida 85, No. 11 Georgia 80 | Recap

Quarterfinals -- Friday, March 15
Game 7: No. 9 Mississippi State 73, No. 1 Tennessee 56 | Recap
Game 8: No. 4 Auburn 86, No. 5 South Carolina 55 | Recap
Game 9: No. 7 Texas A&M 97, No. 2 Kentucky 87 | Recap
Game 10: No. 6 Florida 102, No. 3 Alabama 88 | Recap

Semifinals -- Saturday, March 16
Game 11: No. 4 Auburn 73, No. 9 Mississippi State 66 | Recap
Game 12: No. 6 Florida 95,  No. 7 Texas A&M 90 | Recap

Follow below for updates, analysis and highlights throughout the SEC Tournament.

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Championship: Auburn 86, Florida 67

No. 4 seed Auburn pulled away from No. 7 seed Florida in the second half by shooting 64.3% after halftime. Johni Broome led the way with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Auburn used an SEC Tournament title in 2019 as a springboard to the program's first-ever Final Four appearance. The Tigers will be looking to do the same again in 2024 as they enter the Big Dance on a six-game winning streak.

Florida dealt with a significant blow in the early minutes when starting center Micah Handlogten suffered a fractured leg and was taken off the floor on a stretcher. Action paused for several minutes, and the UF bench was visably shaken up by the severity of the situation.

March 17, 2024, 7:26 PM
Mar. 17, 2024, 3:26 pm EDT
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Micah Handlogten wheeled off

Florida will have to play the rest of the SEC Tournament title game without 7-foot-1 starting center Micah Handlogten, who suffered a lower leg injury in the opening minutes that required him to be taken off the floor on a stretcher. Play stopped for several minutes as medical personnel assessed his injury and worked to get him on the stretcher. Handlogten's parents and teammates all came over to offer their encouragement, and you could see the emotion in their faces. The Gators will have to overcome the emotional toll and will be leaner than usual on depth while playing their fourth game in four days. Of course, Handlogten's injury will loom large for the NCAA Tournament, potentially forcing Alex Condon and Tyrese Samuel to log more minutes than usual.

March 17, 2024, 5:29 PM
Mar. 17, 2024, 1:29 pm EDT
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Semifinals: Florida 95, Texas A&M 90

No. 6 seed Florida rallied from a 50-42 halftime deficit to topple No. 7 seed Texas A&M. The Gators trailed 40-22 at one point in the first half but got a huge game from reserve guard Denzel Aberdeen, who led the team with 20 points on 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range. Five Florida players reached double figures. The Gators will play No. 4 seed Auburn in the title game on Sunday. Florida won the first meeting 81-65 at home on Feb. 10.

Texas A&M reached the right side of the bubble in Jerry Palm's NCAA Tournament Bracketology after beating Kentucky in a quarterfinal matchup on Friday. But the Aggies will still have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday after a five-game losing streak in February imperiled their at-large hopes.

March 16, 2024, 10:23 PM
Mar. 16, 2024, 6:23 pm EDT
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Semifinals: Auburn 73, Mississippi State 66

For the first time this season, Auburn won a game by fewer than 11 points. The Tigers, who are accustomed to either blowing teams out or losing, wore down Mississippi State in the second half as the Bulldogs played their third game in three days. 

Four players reached double figures for Auburn, led by Chad Baker-Mazara with 14. The No. 4 seed Tigers Will play either No. 6 seed Florida or No. 7 seed Texas A&M in Sunday's title game. This game got physical, and it got chippy. Officials stopped play for several minutes early in the half to look at the monitor after an exchange between Baker-Mazara and D.J. Jeffries that resulted in double technicals. There were five total techs. 

Mississippi State is projected as an NCAA Tournament team in Jerry Palm's Bracketology after crushing No. 1 seed Tennessee in Friday's quarterfinals. Josh Hubbard led the Bulldogs with 20 points in the loss to Auburn.

March 16, 2024, 7:29 PM
Mar. 16, 2024, 3:29 pm EDT
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March mayhem in SEC Tournament

The NCAA Tournament isn't even here and yet March Madness is already delivering on its name, particularly in the SEC, where on Friday three of the four lower-seeded teams snuck out wins as underdogs. The results sent home No. 1 seed Tennessee, No. 2 seed Kentucky and No. 3 seed Alabama after losses to Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Florida, respectively.

Just how rare is that? This SEC Tournament will be the first to not feature a No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the semifinals. The seed total of the four teams standing (Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida) is also the highest in the history of the tournament entering the semifinals, per Blake Lovell.

March 16, 2024, 4:09 AM
Mar. 16, 2024, 12:09 am EDT
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Quarterfinals: Florida 102, Alabama 88

No. 6 seed Florida became the latest team to inject chaos into the SEC Tournament as the Gators downed No. 3 seed Alabama without much trouble. As a result, Saturday's semifinals will not include any of the tournament's top three seeds for the first time since the conference expanded to 14 teams. It has been an encouraging week so far for the Gators after they closed the regular season with a loss at lowly Vanderbilt. Five different Florida players reached double figures against the Crimson Tide.

Alabama will enter the NCAA Tournament having lost four of its last six. The Crimson Tide have surrendered at least 100 points in three of those four losses. With No. 1 seed Tennessee and No. 3 seed Kentucky also going one-and-done, the SEC Tournament has officially been flipped on its head. Bubble teams Texas A&M and Mississippi State have stolen the show with their strong play, while Auburn and Florida are each using the event to get right entering the Big Dance after some uneven moments for both late in the season.

March 16, 2024, 3:53 AM
Mar. 15, 2024, 11:53 pm EDT
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Quarterfinals: Texas A&M 97, Kentucky 87

No. 2 seed Kentucky brought a lot of fans to the SEC Tournament, but it didn't bring enough defense. No. 7 seed Texas A&M used a combined 55 points from veteran guards Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford to pick up a massive victory. The Aggies entered as one of the "First Four Out" of the projected NCAA Tournament field in Jerry Palm's Bracketology. But this marks their fifth Quad 1 win and gets them onto the right side of the bubble for now. Next up will be a date with either Alabama or Florida in Saturday's semifinals.

Kentucky had won five straight entering the SEC Tournament but will have to regroup following a clunker against the Aggies. This team has no shortage of offensive firepower — Robert Dillingham scored 27 against Texas A&M and UK shot 50% from the floor — but the defense remains an issue for the 'Cats.

March 16, 2024, 1:21 AM
Mar. 15, 2024, 9:21 pm EDT
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Quarterfinals: Auburn 86, South Carolina 55

No. 4 seed Auburn used an 11-0 run late in the first half to establish full control against No. 5 seed South Carolina on its way to a convincing victory. The Tigers never let up while holding the Gamecocks to just 28% shooting. Best of all for Auburn is that no one logged more than 25 minutes in a game that was scarcely in doubt. Auburn will play No. 9 seed Mississippi State in the semifinals on Saturday with relatively fresh legs, while the Bulldogs will be playing their third game in three days.

The loss will send South Carolina into the NCAA Tournament on a sour note. The Gamecocks (26-7) have been one of the nation's top surprise teams this season, but they have struggled against teams like Auburn and Alabama that play with all gas and no brakes. The Gamecocks are the exact opposite; their viability in the Big Dance will be matchup dependent.

March 15, 2024, 9:58 PM
Mar. 15, 2024, 5:58 pm EDT
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Quarterfinals: Mississippi State 73, Tennessee 56

Tennessee will enter the NCAA Tournament on a two-game losing streak after falling to No. 9 seed Mississippi State in its opening game of the SEC Tournament. The Volunteers turned in their worst overall performance of the season against the Bulldogs, who entered the day as one of the "Last Four In" among the projected NCAA Tournament field of CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. The Vols shot just 20.6% from the floor in the first half while falling behind 38-19. Tennessee cut the deficit to 60-48 with 5:03 remaining after back-to-back 3s from Zakai Zeigler, but State closed strong from there.

The Bulldogs handed Tennessee one of their four SEC regular-season losses on Jan. 10 in their only prior meeting this season. Two wins against the Volunteers will make for some pretty solid ammo in the eyes of the selection committee. MSU will play either No. 4 seed Auburn or No. 5 seed South Carolin the semifinals on Saturday.

March 15, 2024, 7:12 PM
Mar. 15, 2024, 3:12 pm EDT
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Second round: Florida 85, Georgia 80

No. 6 seed Florida and No. 11 seed Georgia played two close games during the regular season, and this one was no different as the Gators improved to 3-0 against the Bulldogs. Florida needed to cleanse its pallet after suffering a loss to Vanderbilt in this same city on Saturday and did so behind 22 points from Walter Clayton Jr. The Iona transfer's big night included a huge 3-point play in transition with 1:55 remaining. The Gators will play No. 3 seed Alabama in Friday's quarterfinals.

Georgia looked like a potential NCAA Tournament team at one point after starting 14-5 (4-2 SEC). But the Bulldogs have now lost 11 of their last 14 and are sitting at 17-16. 

March 15, 2024, 4:29 AM
Mar. 15, 2024, 12:29 am EDT
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Second round: Texas A&M 80, Ole Miss 71

No. 7 seed Texas A&M picked up where it left off to close the regular season and beat No. 10 seed Ole Miss again after downing the Rebels 86-60 in the regular season finale. This was the fourth-straight victory for Texas A&M, which needs a strong week to make its case for NCAA Tournament inclusion. The Aggies entered the day as one of the "First Four Out" of the projected NCAA Tournament field in Jerry Palm's Bracketology. The Aggies will get another chance to make their case in a quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 seed Kentucky on Friday.

Year 1 for Chris Beard at Ole Miss could still result in an NIT appearance. But for now, the Rebels are 20-12 and have no NCAA Tournament case. They started 18-3 (5-3 SEC) before simply running out of gas. The Rebels' only victories over SEC opposition after Jan. 30 both came against Missouri, which finished 0-18 in league play.

March 15, 2024, 1:33 AM
Mar. 14, 2024, 9:33 pm EDT
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Second round: South Carolina 80, Arkansas 66

No. 5 seed South Carolina throttled No. 12 seed Arkansas to reach 26 wins, matching a program record previously established by the 2016-17 Gamecocks, a team that reached the Final Four. Arkansas trailed just 38-35 at halftime but wilted in the second half while playing its second game in less than 24 hours. Collin Murray-Boyles led the Gamecocks with 24 while B.J. Mack contributed 19. South Carolina will play No. 4 seed Auburn in Friday's quarterfinals.

Arkansas was expected to compete for the SEC title entering this season, but it will go down as a lost year for the program. The Razorbacks finish 16-17 after reaching two Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 over the past three seasons.

March 14, 2024, 9:24 PM
Mar. 14, 2024, 5:24 pm EDT
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Second round: Mississippi State 70, LSU 60

No. 9 seed Mississippi State turned on the jets in the second half to outlast No. 8 seed LSU. After going just 1 of 6 from the floor in the first half, Josh Hubbard exploded with a series of big plays down the stretch on his way to a game-high 24 points. Hubbard was bested by Kentucky's Reed Sheppard in the SEC Freshman of the Year race, but he took a backseat to no one in a critical game for his team.

The Bulldogs entered as a projected No. 10 seed in Jerry Palm's NCAA Tournament Bracketology but were regarded as a bubble team. A loss to LSU would have been troubling for their NCAA Tournament case. Now, Mississippi State will get another chance to impress the selection committee when it plays No. 1 seed Tennessee in Friday's quarterfinals.

March 14, 2024, 7:09 PM
Mar. 14, 2024, 3:09 pm EDT
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First round: Georgia 64, Missouri 59

Georgia finished with a bang, holding Missouri scoreless over the game's final 3:38 and closing on a 12-0 run to avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss. Missouri entered 0-18 in league play on the season but held a 59-52 lead with under four minutes to play before the Bulldogs rallied.

After a 14-5 (4-2 SEC) start, it's been a rough go of it for Georgia. But the 'Dawgs rallied and will play No. 6 seed Florida in Thursday's second round. It's back to the drawing board for Mizzou, which was a surprise NCAA Tournament team last season in coach Dennis Gates' first season. The Tigers have a good recruiting class coming in but need a lot of help from the portal in order to regain their competitive footing in the SEC.

March 14, 2024, 3:51 AM
Mar. 13, 2024, 11:51 pm EDT
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First round: Arkansas 90, Vanderbilt 85

No. 12 seed Arkansas rallied from a 41-27 halftime deficit to beat No. 13 seed Vanderbilt in overtime. The Razorbacks dominated the extra period after Ezra Manjon hit a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation for the Commodores to tie the game. Khalif Battle scored 7 of his team-high 24 in overtime and hit 13 of 14 free throws over the course of the game for Arkansas. Manjon led Vanderbilt with 29

The Razorbacks will play No. 5 seed South Carolina in Thursday's second round as they seek to piece together a run following a disappointing regular season. Arkansas will need to cut down the nets on Sunday as the SEC Tournament champions in order to reach a fourth straight NCAA Tournament.

March 14, 2024, 1:16 AM
Mar. 13, 2024, 9:16 pm EDT