Florida 84, Arkansas 82 (OT)

Arkansas loses a seven-point lead in regulation and then Florida takes the game away in overtime as the No. 10 Gators down the Razorbacks 84-82 Saturday afternoon before a season-high 18,020 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Scottie Wilbekin didn't start Saturday in Bud Walton Arena, but the superb Florida point guard did finish off Arkansas in an 84-82 overtime victory.

Wilbekin drove the lane to duck away from Ky Madden and Bobby Portis for a 6-foot bank shot to tie the game with two seconds left in regulation. Then, he exploded for an early 3-pointer in overtime, scoring 9 of his 18 points in that extra five-minute period.



The Hogs led 64-57 with 4:43 left after Madden hit a three and Portis hit a layup and two free throws. The Gators tied it at 64 before Madden's drive and tough bank shot gave the Hogs a 66-64 lead with 1:31 left.

It looked like the game was there for the Hogs to take when Madden got a stop against the 6-9 Young on the low block, then Kasey Hill traveled with 18 seconds left.

Harris broke loose from near midcourt to take the inbounds pass and force a Florida foul with 17 seconds left. But, after a UF timeout, he missed the front end of the one-and-one to let the Gators escape before a season's best 18,040 in Fayetteville.

"We had opportunities," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "We had chances, whether they were at the foul line, a key turnover or not getting a stop in a key spot.

"The difference was the free throw line, guys, they made them, we didn't. We have lost two straight and this puts us behind the eight ball and we have to catch some teams.

"I thought we played well enough. Bottom line, we didn't finish."

The Gators led by as much as eight points with 1:16 left in overtime. Arkansas cut it to 82-79 before the Hogs' Alandise Harris missed inside with seven seconds to go. UA sophomore Michael Qualls, just 1 of his last 23, hit a clanging 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Dorian Finney-Smith scored a career-high 22 points as the No. 10 Gators overcame the absence of leading scorer Casey Prather to snap Arkansas' 23-game home winning streak. Wilbekin and Patric Young, also nursing injuries, did not start after missing practice the last two days.

Finney-Smith, starting in place of Prather, also added a season-high 15 rebounds as the Gators (13-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) won their seventh in row.

Madden went five of 10 on 3-pointers to lead the Razorbacks (11-4, 0-2) with 23 points. Coty Clarke added 16 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and one steal. Clarke hit three 3-point shots to help the Hogs to a 36-35 halftime lead.

"That's what you worry about in this building," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "They just shoot the three so well here. We let them make seven in the first eight minutes here last year and we wanted to avoid that -- and they get four off in the first possession.

"But we kept that manageable for the game. They got 10, we got nine. That's OK because we did kinda keep up with them.

"They killed us on the offensive boards, though. It looks like we stayed close because it was just 45-44, them by one. But they got 20 offensive rebounds."

Anderson said the plan late in overtime was to drive for a kick-out three. It didn't happen when Harris went to the heart of the lane after Madden passed on a similar shot and kicked out.

"We had covered that in the previous timeout," Anderson said. "We wanted four guys around the 3-point line and to keep to one of them. Alandise was going to try to make a play, go to contact and try to get a 3-point play.

"He was trying to make a play when he went to get the ball and get fouled in regulation. He can shoot free throws. He's gone 11-of-11 in a game before. He wanted to make a play, but he just didn't.

"If he makes those free throws, it's a different game."

Harris was 3-of-5 from the line, with the Hogs converting 18 of 27 for 66.7 percent. Florida stayed it in with 7-of-8 foul shooting in the first half, 8-of-12 in the second and then hitting 10-of-14 in overtime. They were 25 of 34 for 73.5 percent overall.

Donovan said Wilbekin's ankle sprain wasn't severe. In fact, he said the guard wanted to practice Friday, but trainers prevented it. Still, the coach said he wasn't sure Wilbekin (35) or Young (21) would be able to play those kind of minutes against the Hogs.

"Scottie said he could go yesterday," Donovan said. "But we wanted another day of rest. I still didn't know what we would get from Scottie or Patric.

"Obviously, we got a big game from Doedoe (Finney-Smith). He has ability. The biggest thing is that he gets down on himself because of his mistakes. I just have to keep encouraging, try to build his confidence. He played very well."

Donovan thought Wilbekin's play at the end of regulation was close to what was diagrammed in the huddle.

"We wanted a flat screen with Finney-Smith," he said. "He then slipped the screen. It was about as good as you'd want in that situation, but it was still a tough, tough shot. Portis came very close to blocking it right out of his hand because of his length. I was right in line and it was just very close."

Wilbekin said there was an instant when he thought about taking a three for the potential game winner in regulation.

"Then, Madden gave me a little room to drive," he said. "It was about as good a shot as you are probably going to get in that situation, but it's still one that isn't easy.

"We got two good looks to start the overtime, better than we'd been getting. We had taken good shots all game long and they finally fell. I think our defense was very good in overtime. We clamped down on them."

The Hogs were their own worst enemy late in regulation. They made only one of their final six shots including an uncontested dunk by Clarke with 3:51 while holding a 64-59 lead.

The Hogs forced 17 Florida turnovers, including a big one on the press at the 2:45 mark after a Madden 3-pointer to close it to 71-69. Portis came up with the ball, then turned it over on a two-on-one play near the basket.

The Hogs have to bounce back quickly. They play host to Kentucky on Tuesday night.

"We have until midnight to think about this one," Madden said. "We have to forget it then."

Clarke said it was important not to blame anyone. He said no one said anything to Harris in the locker room because of his missed chances.

"It wasn't on him," Clarke said. "It was on all of us. We all had chances to make plays and we didn't make nearly enough."



Ky Madden glides for a layup against the Gators.



Alandise Harris splits a double team.



Bobby Portis tries for a block.



Coty Clarke secures a rebound.

Photos by Jason Ivester

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