The Arkansas Razorbacks (17-10, 8-6 SEC) may have gotten the best of Florida earlier this month, but it was a whole new story Saturday night in the O’Dome.
The Florida Gators (22-4, 12-2 SEC) had complete control of the game from start to finish as they got their latest win in the SEC 71 to 54. Florida now holds a two-game lead over Alabama and Kentucky for sole possession of first place in the conference.
Showing up huge for Florida was big man Patric Young. He shot 70 percent from the floor and added 14 points; something the team was really looking for as he had only one double-digit scoring game in the prior five games. Young acknowledged his weaknesses, but is quick to point out he stays involved offensively.
Coming into the matchup, Florida’s storyline revolved around last Tuesday’s loss to Missouri as well as their first SEC loss to Arkansas on February 5th. In his usual fashion, Billy Donovan was quick to dismiss Saturday’s game as being anything but another game. Don’t tell that to the rest of the club. Young understands Donovan’s perspective and has a whole different view.
The other Gator showing up Saturday night was Mike Rosario; his team-high 15 points came as no surprise. The former Rutgers standout hasn’t scored fewer than 12 points all month long. Against the Razorbacks, Rosario had a game defining moment when he lunged into the booster section to save a loose ball and fell on a little boy. The boy turned out to be fine, but in a bizarre turn of events, his teammate Michael Frazier II was not okay. On the play, Frazier somehow fell to the floor hitting his head on the knee of Scottie Wilbekin. Donovan clarified that injury in the postgame conference, but he doesn’t know the severity.
On a team that’s already without sixth man Will Yeguete, replacing Frazier will not be easy. Donovan said some of the low minute guys are going to have to step up.
Reports indicate that the guard is out indefinitely, a low point in a game that Florida owned. In the last meeting Arkansas shot almost 50 percent. In this rematch, the Gators used a variety of looks on defense ranging from full court press to man to man. The Gator D held the Razorbacks to just 36.2 percent shooting. Also helping the Gator cause was Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell. He led all starters in their last meeting, but stayed in foul trouble most of the game. The junior sat on the bench in key moments of the game and ended with just seven points. The lone bright spot for Arkansas came in the form of the other starting forward Coty Clarke. He had a game high 18 points on an eight for eight shooting night.
For Florida, two others scored in double figures. Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton each scored 12 points.
The Gators will play at Tennessee on Tuesday and the game can be heard on Country 103.7 The Gator starting at 8:25 p.m.