Florida avenges loss to Arkansas
GAINESVILLE — Florida avenged its worst loss of the season by handing Arkansas one of its biggest defeats with a 71-54 win on Saturday night that, coupled with Alabama’s 97-94 triple overtime loss to LSU, gave the Gators a two-game lead in the SEC title race with two weeks left in the regular season.
The fourth-ranked Gators (22-4 overall, 12-2 in the SEC) lost 80-69 on Feb. 5 in Fayetteville. Arkansas (17-10, 8-6) is a miserable 1-6 on the road in league contests. UF has to just split its remaining four regular season games to get at least a share of the SEC crown for the second time in three years and the sixth in school history.
Mike Rosario and Patric Young led the Gators with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy had 12 each.
Florida’s one down moment came midway through the second half with Michael Frazier II was hit in the head by an Arkansas player’s knee and suffered a concussion. But by then, UF had the game under control.
Florida, which is 13-0 at home this season, had everything going its way midway most the evening. An Anthlon Bell 3-pointer cut the Gators’ lead to 14-13 at 11:33 in the first half. But the Razorbacks would go more than five minutes without another field goal. Hogs star post player Marshawn Powell picked up his second foul at 10:45 and sat down for the rest of the half.
He’d scored seven of the first 13 points for Arkansas.
An 11-2 run gave Florida its biggest lead of the first half at 25-15. But forward Cory Clarke, who finished with a game-high 18 points, re-entered the game despite having two fouls and scored six of the Razorbacks’ next eight points. Bell’s second 3-pointer cut the deficit to 30-26 and the Gators led just 32-28 at the half.
Florida was just 4 of 13 behind the arc in the opening but Arkansas was just as bad (3 of 13) leaving the game up in the air starting the second half.
Despite the Gators letting a great opportunity slip … [For more on Florida Gators avenge loss to Arkansas Razorbacks, click here.]