Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) has his shot blocked by Arkansas forward Connor Vanover (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fayetteville, Ark. Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Men’s Basketball’s Late Rally Not Enough to Top Arkansas; Fall 75-64

After not playing for two weeks due to Covid-19 issues, the Gators Men’s Basketball team finally took the court against the Arkansas Razorbacks Tuesday night. After a poor defensive showing in the first half, the Gators showed fight in the second half, but it was not enough to defeat Razorbacks, falling 75-64.

The Gators, falling to 10-6 (6-5 SEC), allowed 40 points to the Razorbacks in the first half, causing the team to trail 40-30 as the halftime buzzer sounded. But the Gators came out of the locker room strong, starting the second half on a 9-0 run and cutting the Razorbacks deficit to six points with 16 minutes remaining.

After a back-and-forth battle for the next 12 minutes, the Gators were able to claw back and erase a 15 point deficit, taking the lead after Tyree Appleby swished a lay-up with 4:40 remaining in the game.

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However, the Razorbacks scored on their next two possessions, and Arkansas’s Justin Smith blocked Anthony Duruji at the rim to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to two possessions. Unable to come back in the final minutes, the Gators handed Arkansas their seventh straight SEC win, improving to 17-5 (9-4 SEC).

Only two Gators players were able to put up double digits last night. Appleby played 37 minutes, scoring 16 points on 6-14 shooting and Colin Castleton recorded 13 points and six rebounds coming off the bench.

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The Gators struggled from three for the second straight game. After shooting 28% in their loss against South Carolina, the Gators’ struggles continued, shooting 19% from three only making four out of 21 attempts. Tre Mann, Noah Locke, and Appleby combined for a disappointing 3-18 from three-point range.

Four players scored in the double-digits for Arkansas. Davonte Davis led the Razorbacks with 18 points and five rebounds, while Justin Smith added 15 points and six rebounds. Additionally, both Moses Moody and Jalen Tate tallied 14 points.

Up next, the Gators will host the 13-8  (6-8 SEC) Georgia Bulldogs Saturday. The Gators will look for their fourth straight win against Bulldogs who are coming off an upset win over the 20th ranked Missouri Tigers.

The Razorbacks will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M Saturday, looking for their eighth straight SEC win.

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