No. 2 Florida faces road test at Arkansas

No. 2 Florida faces road test at Arkansas

The Gators have heard all about the home dominance Arkansas displays. The Razorbacks have lost just five of their last 38 home games since the middle of the 2010-11 season. Sandwiched in there is a 30-point thumping by Florida last season, easily the worst loss for Arkansas at home in the last three seasons and the fourth biggest win for Florida ever in a conference road game.

"Bud Walton (Arena) is a great place to play," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "They've got great fans and a good environment. I'm sure it'll be a great crowd. Our guys know what to expect and how it is in there. (Arkansas) plays very well at home, as their stats and record shows. It's a unique environment."

Florida played well enough to turn last year's game in a unique one for the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. The Gators held a 26-point lead at halftime and cruised in the second half for a big win. It produced Florida's fifth win in a row over Arkansas and eighth in the last nine games between the two.

The film has shown the Florida coaches and players that Arkansas is a different team when playing at home.

"The biggest thing is the field goal percentage," Donovan said. "Their offensive numbers are different. That's not abnormal. Most teams shoot the ball much better at home than they do on the road. Those numbers are drastically different."

Despite Florida's blowout win last season, Arkansas guard B.J. Young scored 31 points as a freshman. Now a sophomore this year, he's averaging 16.7 points and 4.1 rebounds. He still has the ability to score, especially when he gets to the rim, and the Gators will try to contain him when they tip off with the Razorbacks at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

"He's a handful because he's really explosive," Donovan said. "He's really good with the ball in the open floor. Because of his athleticism and open floor speed, we probably fouled him too much a year ago. He got around the basket and is a very good finisher. You can't guard him with one person.

"Young is a year older. He absorbed a lot of minutes last year for their team."

Young can get to the rim

The comfortable victory didn't erase his performance from the minds of Florida players.

"He did do a lot of scoring," Florida center Patric Young said. "It's a similar situation to playing Ole Miss with Marshall Henderson. We'll probably put Scottie on him and play team defense."

Alongside Young is 6-7, 240-pound forward Marshawn Powell, who is averaging 15.3 points and 5.6 rebounds. Powell has dealt with multiple injuries that have slowed his career at Arkansas, but he's having a strong junior season now that he's healthy.

"Enough wasn't made last year about Powell being out," Donovan said. "He was one of the better players in our league, even as a freshman, he had a great year. He's back playing really well. He gives them another scorer."

The Gators went through their quickest turnaround of the year weeks ago after playing at Texas A&M on Thursday and then against Missouri on Saturday. This Saturday-to-Tuesday turnaround isn't as quick, but the Gators only have two full days to prepare for Arkansas.

The benefit is that it's a quick turnaround both teams are working with.

"You just have to deal with that," Donovan said. "We've got two legitimate days to prepare, as does Arkansas. We're both dealing with the same thing."

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