Well, that was a thriller.
Although they were without their leading scorer, played two starters off the bench and were up against a hot team which had won 25 straight games at their place, #10 Florida (13-2, 2-0 SEC) knocked off Arkansas (11-4, 0-2 SEC) 84-82 in overtime today.
The score stayed close throughout the game (Arkansas led 36-35 at the half), but toward the end, it looked like Florida’s luck was running out. In the final one and a half minutes with the Hogs up 64-66, the Gators missed some good scoring opportunities and Kasey Hill traveled with only 19 seconds left, turning the ball over. Scottie Wilbekin then fouled Arkansas’ Alandise Harris, who held a 67.2 free-throw percentage on the year. However, Harris missed his free throw, Michael Frazier II got the defensive rebound and Wilbekin made the two-point jumper with two seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
Florida led throughout the overtime period and scored 10 points off 14 attempted free throws.
This was a great resume win for the Gators in many ways. Leading scorer Casey Prather is nursing a bone bruise in his right knee and was unavailable (his status is now day-to-day). Redshirt sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith started in his place and really stepped up, scoring a team-high and career-high 22 points and adding 15 rebounds. Patric Young and Wilbekin did not start due to injuries of their own, but did come off the bench. Freshman Hill and sophomore DeVon Walker filled in their spots as starters and combined for eight points and nine rebounds. Finally, with this victory, the Gators snapped the Razorbacks’ 25-game home winning streak (23 of those wins were played in Bud Walton Arena and the other two took place in Little Rock, Ark.), which was tied with Duke for the second-longest in the country.
To note an individual stat, Young’s eight rebounds today put him at 701 for his career. He is now the 17th player in UF history to reach 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.
Wilbekin contributed 18 points, Frazier totaled 15 and Young added 10. Ky Madden led Arkansas with 23 points and five rebounds.
Florida will next face Georgia (7-6, 1-0 SEC) at home. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14.