Jacksonville Sports Day

SEC: Gators Fall as Second-Half Run Sends Hogs To Semifinals

By Brent Hull
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Behind a big night from Jaylen Barford and Daniel Gafford, the No. 6 seed Arkansas men’s basketball team defeated Florida Gators 80-72 Friday night, advancing to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the third time in the last four years.

Using a 16-2 run in the second half, the Razorbacks were able to gain control of the game and defeat the Gators for the first time since 2013.

Keith Stone led third-seeded Florida (20-12) with 22 points and finished 8 of 10 from the field. Chris Chiozza added 16 points and KeVaughn Allen 11 for the Gators, who hit six of their first 10 3-pointers before hitting only seven of their next 22 to finish 13 of 32 overall from behind the arc.

Allen is from Arkansas and played in at North Little Rock High School with Arkansas guard Anton beard. The senior scored a season-high 28 points in Florida’s 88-73 win over the Razorbacks on Jan. 17, but he was held to a 4-of-11 shooting effort on Friday. The loss was the first of Allen’s career against his home state, coming after he had been a part of six straight victories over the Razorbacks.

From the tip, the pace of the game was at one Arkansas feels comfortable with. Thanks to their hot shooting early, the Gators led 13-10 at the first media timeout and would eventually extend it to eight. The Gators drilled six of their first 10 three-point attempts, but Arkansas would answer, eventually cutting the Gator lead to one.

“It wasn’t our best effort. We’re coming off the best stretch of performances that we’ve put together all year,” said Florida coach Mike White. ” Tonight we took a step backward, unfortunately. We’ve got to find a way to get home and regroup and find our mojo, get back to playing the way that we were playing these last three weeks.”

With less than three minutes left in the first half, Florida would stretch it back out seven, hitting two of its seven first-half three pointers.

Turning up the defense, Arkansas would weather the storm and hold Florida scoreless for the final four minutes and 54 seconds of the first half. The Hogs would go on an 8-0 run to take a 30-29 lead into the break.

The second half, much like the first, was an absolute battle. The two teams traded baskets for the first couple of minutes before Arkansas ran off a 7-0 run to take its largest lead at that point at five. The Gators would claw back and even it up with 12 minutes left in the game.

The Razorbacks would go on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes, scoring 12 straight to take a 14-point lead.

Barford would pick up his second double-double of the season, finishing one point shy of a career high with 27 points and tying his career high with 10 rebounds.

Gafford earned his second double-double of the season, addingn 16 points and tying his career high with 12 rebounds and one monster windmill to cap it off.

Daryl Macon posted 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Beard added 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Arkansas owned the paint, out rebounding Florida 43-28 and scored 30 points around the basket.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *