GAINESVILLE - The Razorbacks and Gators are streaking in different directions.
Nick Calathes poured in a career-high 28 points, added 10 rebounds and 7 assists and Erving Walker 13 as Florida hit 9 second-half 3-pointers and raced away to whip Arkansas 80-65 Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
The Gators (16-2, 3-0) have now won 10 straight while handing the Razorbacks (12-4, 0-3) their third straight blowout loss after they had reeled off 10 straight victories to end non-conference play.
"I thought in a lot of ways, Nick really carried us in the first half," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "In the second half we started to get a little bit of a rhythm . We made shots and the difference in the second half was the 3-point line."
Michael Washington had 21 points and 8 rebounds for Arkansas while Courtney Fortson and Marcus Monk added 10 each and Marcus Britt 9.
While the UA squad shot 49.1 percent from the field in the loss, the Razorbacks were just 2-of-13 from 3-point range.
That means they are just 8 of their 50 from beyond the arc and leading 3-point shooter Rotnei Clarke (0-for-5) was held scoreless for the second straight game.
Arkansas also had 19 turnovers, 11 in the second half. Fortson had 8 of the miscues.
We had too many turnovers," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "When we do take care of the basketball, we need to be able to score at a very high rate. We just couldn't hold onto it enough to keep close."
Alex Tyus added 11 points and Kenny Kadji and Chandler Parsons 10 each for Florida.
"We might not be the most physical team, but we try to make up for it with our passion and our desire," Parsons said.
Calathes was 6-of-10 from 3-point range by himself as Florida went 11-of-30 from 3-point range to offset shooting 44.6 percent from the field.
"My teammates did a great job finding me," Calathes said. "I guess it was my night for shooting, but Erving (Walker), Alex (Tyus) and Dan (Warner) made big shots too. Three-point shooting is a main part of our offense."
Florida led just 37-34 at intermission, but the Gators scored the first nine points of the second half.
When Calathes knocked down a jumper, his team went up 46-37 with 17:41 left and began to pull away.
The margin grew to 17 on Tyus' dunk that made it 68-51 with 8:26 remaining.
"We have not put two great halves together shooting the basketball," Donovan said. "It looked like the Ole Miss game but flip-flopped. We played Ole Miss in the first half like we played Arkansas in the second half. I think that all our guys on the floor created a little bit more continuity. The guys were in roles that they knew. They probably saw the way that Arkansas was defending and we were able to maybe (get better shots off)."
Arkansas did have a spirited 11-1 run to get back within 73-65 on Fortson's shot in the lane at the 4:13 mark.
But Walker hit a 3-pointer and Florida was able to close out the contest.
Florida jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but the Arkansas stormed back with a spectacular 16-1 run that was fueled by Fortson.
The spree started with Britt nailing a jumper and was capped when Michael Sanchez converted an old-fashioned three point play to put Arkansas up 18-11.
"I thought we were really aggressive and did some good things during that stretch, but just couldn't maintain it," Pelphrey said.
Jason Henry, Sanchez and Stefan Welsh all added 5 points each for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas will now have a week off before hosting Auburn next Saturday at 12:05 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.
"We are going to get better (next week)," Pelphrey said. "I can assure you that."
Florida 80, Arkansas 65
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