FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Florida notched another win on its
road to recovery and restoration of its NCAA tournament hopes
The Gators overcame their own sloppiness -- 20 turnovers --
because Arkansas struggled from the 3-point line -- 2-for-25 -- for a
Florida (17-8, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) won its third in a
row after a 3-6 stretch, including losing four of five and falling
out of the Top 25.
"I don't know if it's a roll or not," Florida coach Billy
Donovan said. "I think we have rallied and pulled together."
David Lee scored 18 points, Matt Walsh added 17 and Florida
withstood a late Arkansas run for the victory. The Razorbacks
battled back from a 19-point deficit in the second half and cut the
lead to 69-64 with 1:19 remaining.
After that, Arkansas (12-13, 4-10) missed three shots on one
possession before turning it over on a jumped ball and it missed
two more shots before Walsh sealed the game with four free throws
in the final minute, the last two with 19 seconds remaining for a
"We have learned form our previous losses that you can never
let up in a game, so we stuck in there and played hard and came out
on top," Walsh said.
Donovan said he wonders how much former player Christian Drejer
was affected during the nine-game slide before his sudden departure
to play professionally in Spain. Florida's three-game winning
streak started after he left.
Two of those wins have been on the road, guaranteeing Florida of
finishing .500 overall in the SEC and on the road. Only No. 7
Mississippi State and No. 9 Kentucky have four league wins on the
"The thing I'm most pleased about is we play a lot of freshman
and they've been able to win four on the road in this year,"
Donovan said. "You go .500 on the road in this league, that's hard
The Gators were helped by the Razorbacks' 2-for-25 performance
from the 3-point line, as they missed their first 17 attempts.
"It's difficult when your shots aren't falling," Arkansas
coach Stan Heath said. "When you're young, you get frustrated when
your shots don't fall. We need to win an ugly game, when things
aren't going your way."
Arkansas now needs to win its final two games, at home against
Alabama on Wednesday and at Mississippi on Saturday to finish 14-13
in the regular season and have any hope of earning an NIT berth.
Ronnie Brewer led Arkansas with 23 points, seven rebounds and
six steals, but it wasn't enough to keep the Razorbacks from losing
10 conference games three years in a row for the first since
joining the SEC in 1991.
Arkansas hadn't played in a week, since knocking South Carolina
out of the Top 25 with an 82-66 win. However, players said they
didn't think the time off hurt.
"We were just off on our shooting and you can't blame that on
the week off," Davis said. "It was a bad shooting night, but we
played hard on defense. We scrambled, pressed and played
Leading 69-60 with 1:38 to go, Florida turned the ball over
three straight times against Arkansas' press.
The Razorbacks took advantage of the first two, cutting the lead
to 69-64 with 1:20 remaining. Olu Famutimi and Brewer each scored
after making steals, but the Razorbacks didn't score again until a
pair of meaningless layups in the final 11 seconds.
The Razorbacks scored 28 points after forcing 20 turnovers and
that was the only thing that kept the game from being a blowout.
"Arkansas had such a low 3-point percentage that helped us
out," Donovan said. "But our 20 turnovers kept them in the game,
so they both offset each other."
Florida opened up 46-30 lead with an 11-3 run to start the
second half, but Arkansas cut the score to 59-52 once it finally
made a couple of 3-pointers.
The Razorbacks missed their first 17 3-pointers, until Jonathon
Modica made one on an inbounds play with 12:36 left in the game.
Modica, Arkansas' leading scorer, came off the bench for the second
straight game and added 17 points.
Kendrick Davis hit another 3-pointer with 10:02 remaining in a
13-4 run that put Arkansas back in the game and set up the late
Anthony Roberson, who finished with 12 points and seven assists,
hit a deep 3-pointer 2 minutes later for a 53-34 lead, Florida's
biggest of the game.
Arkansas led 16-11 early, but Florida's hot shooting quickly
erased that deficit. The Gators used a 17-5 run to take a 28-21
lead with 6:02 remaining in the first half.
Florida took command of its 69-58 win over South Carolina on
Wednesday with a late 14-0 run and the Gators continued to shoot
well on Saturday. They made 12 of 16 shots to open the game and
they held a 35-27 halftime lead by shooting 62.5 (15 of 24) for the
The Gators finished the game shooting 58 percent (29 of 50),
including 8-of-19 from the 3-point line.
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