Georgia 80, Auburn 65

ATLANTA (AP) - Levi Stukes scored 22 points, Takais Brown added 19 and Georgia set up a crucial game with Florida by beating Auburn 80-65 Thursday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Three other players were in double figures for the balanced Bulldogs, who finished .500 in conference play and are still holding out hope of making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

The following year, an academic scandal cost coach Jim Harrick his job, made Georgia the butt of embarrassing jokes and sent the program into a major tailspin.

The Bulldogs (18-12) likely need at least one more quality victory. Georgia advanced to play in tomorrow's quarterfinals against defending national champion Florida, which won the regular-season title in a runaway and already has a pair of victories over the Bulldogs.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)