The Arkansas Razorbacks got off to a hot start and held on late to hand No. 2 Florida its first loss in South Eastern Conference play, 80-69, Tuesday night in Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas started 14 of 18 from the field, including 7 of 9 shooting from 3-point range and took a 23-point lead on the Gators, 36-13, with 9:21 to play in the first half. It was easily the largest deficit Florida had experienced all season long.
B.J. Young led teh wa for Arkansas with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists with no turnovers in 28 minutes. Freshman Michael Qualls continued his good play as of late with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes.
Marshawn Powell scored 9 of his 11 points points during that stretch as he went 4 of 4 from the field. He went on to miss his next three shots in the first half. The rest of the teams cooled off, as well, missing their next 4 shots from 3-point range and only hitting 2 of their next 12 field goal. The Hogs still took a commanding 17-point lead into the halftime intermission, 43-26.
Arkansas ended up shooting 16 of 30 from the field (53.3 percent) and 7 of 13 from 3-point range (53.8 percent) in the first half. They were 4 of 5 from the free throw line (80 percent). The Hogs only turned the ball over 4 times and forced 7 Gator turnovers. Arkansas also out-rebounded UF 19-13, which was as unexpected as their shooting from beyond the arc. UF was 7 of 24 from the field (29.2 percent), 4 of 11 from downtown (36.4 percent) and 8 of 10 from the charity stripe (80 percent).
Arkansas fought off several pushes from the Gators but eventually was able to build the lead to 27 points following two Coty Clarke free throws and an alley-oop dunk from Rashad Madden to Clarke with 9:41 to play in the game, making it 67-40 Razorbacks.
From there, the Gators slowly closed the gap as the Hogs tried to take down the clock. Arkansas ended up winning by 11, but the margin stayed about the same for the final four minutes of play.
The last time Arkansas beat a team ranked No. 2 in the nation was in February of 1999 when the Razorbacks took down No. 2 Auburn 104-88.
Arkansas shot 28 of 57 from the field for the game (49.1 percent) and was 8 of 18 from 3-point range (44.4 percent). The Hogs were also 16 of 21 from the free throw line. Florida hit 23 of 56 field goals (41.1 percent), including 10 of 27 on 3-point attempts (37 percent). UF was 13 of 19 from the free throw line (68.4 percent).
The Hogs forced 16 Gator turnovers and only committed 9. Arkansas also out-rebounded the Gators 34-33. The Hogs got 40 points from the bench while Florida managed just 12. Arkansas also got 21 points off fast breaks while Florida only got 12.