Poor 3-Point Shooting Dooms Razorbacks

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Thirty-seven seconds into Tuesday's game, Patrick Beverley lofted and badly missed a 3-pointer. No one inside the O'Connell Center, especially the Arkansas Razorbacks, realized the omen Beverley's misfire provided.

If only Arkansas could've stopped launching 3-pointers after Beverley's initial miss, the Razorbacks may have left Gainesville with a monumental upset. Instead, they kept firing away and No. 2 Florida held off the pesky Hogs 79-72 in front of a sellout crowd of 12,308.

"I thought the difference in the game was just the 3-point line," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We made some very timely 3-point shots in key points in the game, and they just did not have a great 3-point shooting night as a team."

Not at all. Arkansas missed its first nine 3-point attempts until Beverley drained a 20-footer with 10 minutes, 30 seconds left. Coincidentally, that basket gave the Razorbacks their first and only lead of the game at 54-53.

But the Hogs went on to miss their next four attempts before Stefan Welsh's meaningless make with five seconds remaining. With every clang off the rim, the frustration built.

Gary Ervin rolled his eyes after a miss. Sonny Weems shook his head. Vincent Hunter stared intently at the floor. Even the Razorbacks' coach, Stan Heath, threw his arms up into the air at one point.

The Hogs entered their second Southeastern Conference game just over six made 3-pointers per game. So, this kind of long-distance drought was hard to stomach.

"When we're open, those are usually the shots we knock down," Ervin said. "That's what was so tough about it."

Perhaps not as difficult as the realization that a victory was well within reach, though.

The Razorbacks started exactly how they swore they wouldn't. They launched up those ill-advised 3-pointers. They committed turnovers. They stood around on offense. They didn't move much more on defense. And, to make matters worse, Charles Thomas committed two fouls in the first four minutes.

With 12:40 left in the first half, Arkansas already trailed 18-6 and Florida's student section -- the "Rowdy Reptiles" -- was living up to its nickname.

But still, even as they converted just 4 of their first 18 shots, the Razorbacks hung in the game.

"We gave up some runs, but we also killed some runs," Heath said.

And the Hogs went into halftime down by just one point after a half-closing 6-0 spurt.

In the last 65 seconds of the half, Weems scored on two Ervin assists, and Ervin beat the buzzer with a tip-in of a missed Beverley layup.

"We just played (together), as a team, like we've been doing lately," Ervin said. "We just stuck together and said we're going to work our way back."

Arkansas fought back again in the second half, spurred by steady play from Darian Townes. In a span of 3:09, the Razorbacks went from 10 points down to one up on the drought-breaking 3-pointer by Beverley.

Unfortunately for Arkansas (12-4, 1-1), 3-point shooting would play just as integral a role in the contest's outcome for Florida.

Further foul trouble forced Heath to switch Arkansas to a zone defense, and Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey burned the Hogs with consecutive 3-pointers. Those back-to-back shots put Florida (15-2, 2-0) up 65-56 with 5:39 left, and Arkansas couldn't trim the lead below six.

In the Gators' 74-71 victory over Arkansas in last season's SEC Tournament, Green and Humphrey combined to nail 10 3-pointers. This time around, those same players -- and not the more recognizable names such as Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford -- hurt Arkansas again.

The duo drained five from beyond the 3-point arc Tuesday night.

"That kind of looked familiar," Townes said.

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