NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Florida's big men normally get the most
attention from opponents. Guards Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green
took advantage in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference
Humphrey scored a career-high 25 points, Green added 20 and the Gators (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) beat Arkansas 74-71 Friday night to advance to
the tournament semifinals.
"Our frontcourt has been playing great, so we know teams will
be keying on them. The guards are going to have to knock down some
shots. We did a good job scoring inside and outside," Green said.
The Gators (25-6) will play LSU (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No, 17 AP) the regular-season
champion, in the semifinals Saturday.
Florida, which won its first SEC tournament last year, lost
85-81 in overtime at Arkansas on Feb. 18. That win for the
Razorbacks (22-9) started a six-game winning streak that included
their first-round victory over Georgia.
"We were a little lax in our attention to Humphrey and he
torched us with shot after shot after shot. Taurean Green really
stepped up big," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said.
"Three-point shooting as well as our defense not being up to
the level it's been at throughout the season were the two things
that were the difference in the game."
Humphrey had only six points in the first game against Arkansas,
but he scored 16 points in the first half to help the Gators get
off to a good start.
"Tonight happened to be one of his nights. We become a very
difficult team when he shoots like that," Florida coach Billy
When Humphrey cooled off in the second half, Green got hot. He
scored 14 of his points after halftime. The guards combined for
10-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Al Horford added 11 points
Joakim Noah, the Gators' leading scorer, had nine points.
Arkansas' guards couldn't match the productivity of Florida's
Arkansas trailed by only five with 6:10 remaining, but the
Gators had a quick 6-0 run highlighted by Corey Brewer's one-handed
Thomas hit a 3 with 12.9 seconds left to pull Arkansas to 72-69,
but Humphrey made a pair of free throws at the other end. Florida
went 6-of-6 from the foul line in final 32.8 seconds.
The Gators put together a 9-0 run to take a 47-36 lead with
13:53 left. Green finished off the surge with a 3-pointer.
Florida took the lead early in the first half and extended it
with a 10-2 run started by Humphrey's consecutive 3s. Corey Brewer
had a leaner in the lane to put the Gators up 25-15 with 8:46 left
Florida earned a bye in the first round after winning at
Kentucky in the final game of the regular season. The Gators are in
the semifinals for the fourth time in Donovan's 10 years.