Arkansas basketball isn’t as bad as common thinking would suggest. Proclamations by the knee-jerk crowd suggest the Razorbacks are destined for a cellar finish in the SEC. Though Mike Anderson’s team hasn’t looked quite that poorly in SEC play, a good chunk of Wednesday was exactly that.
Florida was good. Arkansas was bad. That simple. The Gators rolled for the eighth straight time in the series. Final score: 88-73.
The game wasn’t that close for a majority of it. A 20-4 run in the first half was plenty for the Gators. Florida held a 12-point lead with less than 10 minutes left in the opening 20. A good chunk of that quality on Florida’s end came from KeVaughn Allen. The Arkansas native, and North Little Rock High grad, had 11 points when that timeout came. He was 4 for 4 from the field in getting there. As Florida point guard Chris Chiozza exited the game, Allen took over there, too, driving to the hoop without a soul stopping him. Too easy.
Allen and backcourt mate Jalen Hudson combined for 35 points at half; Allen had 20. Arkansas, as an entire team, had 33.
A bit of sustained effort came after the break. The Razorbacks (12-6, 2-4) cut Florida’s lead to 9 with about 11 minutes left. It was the first time since early in the first half Arkansas had been within single digits
Then Allen. He popped a 3-pointer from the wing to build Florida’s lead back to 12 and forced an Anderson timeout. The trey gave him 23 points for the night, tying his season high. With 5:15 left, Allen canned another — his sixth of the night — from the corner. It was the proverbial dagger, providing Florida an 18-point lead. The NLR product finished with 27 points.
Jaylen Barford was the only player with a capital night for Arkansas: 28 points on 10 of 15 shooting.
Arkansas was ultimately sent home — again — after failures in the O’Connell Center. The Hogs remain winless in Gainesville since 1995.
The only other Arkansas player to play somewhat well against Florida was freshman big man Daniel Gafford. He scored 13 points and had 10 boards for his first career double-double.
Inconsistency again. It’s become a common them with Arkansas in every game. Even the Razorbacks wins have had bouts of bad play. In fact, they’re bad more often than they’re good right now.
Maybe that’s just what they are, period.
What’s next for Arkansas?
The Razorbacks return to Bud Walton Arena on Saturday. An afternoon tilt with Ole Miss, which sits at 3-3 in SEC play.