Florida Survives Arkansas 2nd Half Surge

FAYETTEVILLE-- On Wednesday night guard KeVaugh Allen scored 18 points & hit four crucial free throws in the final seconds of the game to lead the Florida Gators (9-5 1-1 SEC) to a 57-51 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The matchup, which was the first SEC road game for Florida this season, went without a basket in the first minute of the game. Actually Arkansas (10-4 1-1 SEC) scored the first four points of the game & Florida didn't score their first basket, a jumper by Allen, until nearly three minutes were gone in the first half.

After another Arkansas basket, Florida went on a 10-0 run that lasted nearly seven minutes & finally ended when Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford hit one of two free throws.  The Razorbacks added two more free throws to cut the Gators lead to 12-9.  But after a free throw & jump shot by Allen on back to back possessions, the Gator lead was back up to 6.

Trailing 15-9, the Razorbacks scored the next five points, first getting a layup by guard Jalen Harris then his backcourt partner Mason Jones drained a three pointer, making the score 15-14.  That three point basket was the first of the game after the two teams combined to miss the first 22 three point shots of the game.  And following that make by Jones, Florida guard Noah Locke matched Jones' shot with a three of his own, only to have Jones come down on the next possession & hit another three that actually gave Arkansas a one point lead.

With just under six minutes left in the first half & the Razorbacks leading 18-17, the Gators scored five straight points to take the lead again.  That lead got up to 8, 26-18 after guard Andrew Nembhard hit a three pointer.  And the Gators went on to outscore the Razorbacks 7-4 in the final three minutes, to head to the locker room up 33-22 after the first 20 minutes of the game.

Both teams shot poorly in the first half, with Florida hitting 31% of their shots while Arkansas shot 28% from the floor.  And things didn't change much in the first four minutes of the second half.  The first basket of the second half wasn't until two minutes were nearly gone when Florida forward Dontay Bassett hit a layup.  But on the next possession, Arkansas got another three from Jones to make the score 35-26. 

That Jones three pointer was followed by old-fashioned three pointers from each team, first one from Bassett which was matched by a short jumper & free throw by Jones.  But the next four minutes, both teams were only able to make good on one basket, with Allen hitting a three point shot & Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe draining a three of his own.

Florida was able to get the lead up to 16, 48-32 by going on a 7-0 run that prompted a timeout by Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson.  The run included a three pointer from guard Jalen Hudson, pus baskets from Bassett & Locke.

Trailing by 16 because of a scoring drought that lasted over five minutes, Arkansas scored four straight points, first on a free throw by Gafford & a three pointer from Joe.  But Locke hit a three pointer to end that brief 4-0 run.

As the game approached the five minute mark, the Razorbacks went on another second half run, this one was 10 straight points, making the score 51-46.  And with just over a minute left in the game, the Razorbacks made it a one score game after a pair of free throws by Jones but four free throws by Allen in the last 12 seconds of the game sealed the win.

Florida will look for another conference win on Saturday when they host #3 Tennessee.   Coverage begins on WDAE with the pregame at 5:30pm.

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