Gators Give Arkansas First Home Loss

It would've been hard to expect what happened on Saturday in Fayetteville. After it wasn't pretty for the Gators over their last three games, No. 12 Florida looked like one of the best teams in the country against Arkansas. The Gators shot 61.5% from the field while holding the Razorbacks to just 36.8% and running away to a 98-68 win.

"The key to the game was how we handled their pressure," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said on his post game radio show. "To start the game, they didn't really try to (full court) pressure us too much. They tried to pressure us in the half court. We did a great job driving the ball with the extra pass and ball movement.

"It was a great win for us. I give our guys all the credit."

As it has been all season, when the Florida offense works well, the guards lead it. Erving Walker is comfortable at Arkansas. Two years ago, he set a career high with 27 points. On Saturday, Walker broke that number when he scored 31 points on 9-12 shooting from the field and 5-6 from behind the three-point line.

Kenny Boynton chipped in with 25 points and five rebounds. Brad Beal scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds to give the Gators their first game with three 20+-point scorers since facing Georgia last season. Donovan credited his team's ‘phenomenal' backcourt play as fueling the team, but there was no player as solid as Walker.

"When he's playing well, it changes the complexion of our team because you have to account for him," Donovan said. "He's a good enough passer to find people and get people shots. What he did tonight shooting and passing the ball was really good."

While Florida holding to a 12-8 lead, the Gators ran out on a 21-5 run. Before the run came to an end, Florida hit four consecutive three-point shots to give them a comfortable 33-13 lead. The Gators turned the ball over eleven times, but they were in control of their own offense.

"I thought the way they were playing us defensively, we had to make good decisions because they turn people over, get a lot of steals and get out in transition," Donovan said. "I thought because we shot such a high percentage that it kept them out of transition and kept them from getting easy baskets."

Florida's defense created problems for Arkansas. The Razorbacks shot 36.8% from the field and went 3-12 (25%) from behind the three-point line. The tough Florida defense held Arkansas to 30% in the first half when the Gators got their comfortable lead.

"The zone was good for us," Donovan said. "I was a little disappointed because we were trading baskets the first eight minutes of the second half, but we did a little better locking up and getting some stops to get into transition."

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