NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Thanks to Ronald Dupree and Jaime Lloreda, Florida's failures continued in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Dominating the interior, Dupree had 24 points and nine rebounds and Lloreda added 21 and 15 to lead Louisiana State to a 65-61 victory over seventh-ranked Florida before a partisan crowd at the Superdome.
The 6-7 Dupree and the 6-9 Lloreda were a combined 19-of-25 from the field.
"They were forces offensively and also defended very well inside," LSU coach John Brady said of Dupree and Lloreda.
LSU (21-9) finished 8-8 in the SEC during the regular season and lost by 17 points to Florida in January, but virtually cemented an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with this victory.
The Tigers will play 25th-ranked Mississippi State in the semifinals on Saturday.
"Our biggest wuins this season were against Arizona and Mississippi State, but it feels great to finally beat Florida," Brady said.
Florida (24-7) set a school record for wins in the regular season, but again faltered in the SEC Tournament. The Gators have played in only two SEC championship games since 1934, losing in 1989 under Norm Sloan and 1994 under Lon Kruger.
Coach Billy Donovan arrived at Florida seven years ago and led the Gators to the national championship game in 2000, but is just 5-7 in SEC Tournament games.
Matt Bonner led Florida, which will probably receive a third seed in the NCAA Tournament, with 15 points.
Dupree scored 19 of his points in the first half, hitting 9-of-10 shots, to help LSU build a 40-27 lead. The Tigers shot 64 percent (18-of-28) in the half compared to 36 percent (9-of-25) for Florida.
"We just didn't play tough at all in the first half," Donovan said. "Our center David Lee also got in some foul trouble and we didn't have the guys to stop Dupree."
The Gators started the second half with a 14-4 run and pulled within 44-41 on a 3-pointer by freshman Matt Walsh with 16:12 left.
But with a chance to give Florida the lead, Walsh missed two free throws with 1:59 left. Lloreda blocked a shot by Bonner to preserve LSU's 62-61 lead with 25 seconds left and Dupree was promptly fouled, hitting 1-of-2 free throws.
"Lloreda gave help defense on the block after Walsh spun around Dupree, and that's the kind of team defense you need to play," Brady said.
After Dupree's second missed free throw, Xavier Whipple grabbed the long rebound for LSU and was fouled, also converting 1-of-2 with 24 seconds remaining.
Florida freshman Anthony Roberson missed a shot in the lane with 13 seconds left and Llodra grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He hit one free throw to increase the lead to 65-61 and Roberson and Justin Hamilton missed shots in the final seconds for Florida.
"We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half and it was just too big to get ourselves out," Bonner said. "We were not making shots and LSU took advantage."
Florida raced to a 12-3 lead, but LSU responded with a 19-4 run as Lloreda and Dupree scored six points apiece.
Louisiana State hit 11-of-15 shots to increase the advantage to 31-20 after a dunk by Dupree.
A basket by Darrel Mitchell gave the Tigers their biggest lead at 38-24 with 1:17 left in the half.
Lee started the second half with a three-point play and Bonner hit a three-pointer to ignite Florida's 14-4 spurt to start the second half.