Final: Florida 73, Arkansas 59
Photo by Mary Holt / Getty Images
The Florida Gators defeated Arkansas 73-59 to push their league record to 9-4.
How it happened:
Florida came out of the gates like they were still hot from Saturday’s Vanderbilt game. Florida jumped out to an early lead of 16-5, causing Arkansas to call a time out. Out of the break Florida continued to stay hot and forced another Hogs timeout at 21-9. Florida somehow kept pushing, in what looked like a game they would run away with, jumping out to as much as a 19 point lead in the first half.
A whistle happy crew forced Kerry Blackshear to the bench with two early fouls. In all, the Gators were called for 4 fouls in the first 3 and 1/2 minutes of the first half.
BUT WAIT… I doubt that you have heard this before, but the Gators endured a scoring drought. Through the last six minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second the Gators managed a total of just six points. This allowed the Hogs to bring it down to a one possession game with 16 minutes left in the second.
Noah Locke was called for a questionable technical foul as an Arkansas player was trying to get into the Gator huddle, Locke pushed him away. This was reviewed and upheld by the referees.
Throughout the second half this game resembled a heavy weight boxing match, where the teams traded blow after blow but neither could get a firm enough grip on the game. For the Gators, they had multiple chances to extend the lead to double digits and finally give themselves some breathing room. The Razorbacks were just looking for a lead, however, neither happened until the Gators took a 62-52 lead with five minutes to play in the game.
Florida would quickly extend the lead to 14, forcing Arkansas to move to a full court press, and got a few quick easy buckets out of it, closing the game to 10 with 2:45 to go. However, this would be too little, too late as Keyontae Johnson and Florida held on to the lead and extends the win streak to 3 and the Gators seem to be rolling headed into the hardest stretch of their season and then the SEC tournament.
Keyontae Johnson had his best game of the season totaling 24 points on 4 of 7 from the field, adding 15 free throws.
Johnson: 24 points, 10 rebounds
Locke: 11 points, 1 rebound
Nembhard: 17 points, 7 rebounds 4 assists
Lewis: 7 points, 7 rebounds
Blackshear: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 4 personal fouls
Rebounds +/-: +10
Florida travels to Lexington to meet the Kentucky Wiildcats for the first time this year on Saturday. Florida hopes to come out with a win in Rupp and continue this good play we have seen from the Gators since Valentine’s Day.