A pair of 10-game winning streaks were on the line on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, AR, but it was the unranked Arkansas Razorbacks (14-9, 5-4 SEC) that kept theirs alive and strong with a shocking and dominating 80-69 upset of the No. 2/2 Florida Gators (18-3, 8-1 SEC) at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas won its 11th consecutive game at home dating back to Dec. 4, 2012 while ending Florida’s 10-game winning streak, its longest since the 2008-09 season. The Gators, which had beaten their first eight Southeastern Conference opponents by an average of 26.5 points, were shook early and outplayed for the duration of the contest.
The Razorbacks, which strung together runs of 12-2 and 10-0 early in the contest, found themselves up 23 points with 7:18 remaining in the first half by starting the game 14-of-18 from the field and 7-of-9 from downtown.
Arkansas eventually cooled off and allowed Florida to cut its lead down to 15 points with 1:44 left on the back of a quick 10-2 run.
Opening the second half up 17, the Hogs continued their dominance over the Gators by forcing three turnovers and scoring six-straight points to increase their advantage back to 23 points. Florida answered with an 11-2 – run including five-straight from redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario – to cut its deficit to 14 points with 15 minutes remaining.
Looking to put away their visitors, the Razorbacks responded by forcing six more turnovers and outscoring the Gators 16-3 to take a game-high 27-point lead that also marked UF’s largest deficit of the season.
Florida refused to be put away, however, and used an 11-2 scoring stretch to find itself down 13 points with 3:52 to play. The home team was able to maintain for the duration of the contest and pull out the impressive victory.
Tuesday marked the fifth time in school history that Arkansas beat a ranked Florida team at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks also scored more points against UF (80) than any other team since Dec. 29, 2011 (Rutgers).
Rosario led all scorers with 15 points. Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin added 14 for the Gators but was just 5-of-15 from the field. Junior center Patric Young, who scored nine points, fouled out late in the game and junior forward Will Yeguete sat for most of the contest after his right knee tendinitis flared up early in the first half.
Guard B.J. Young came off the bench to lead Arkansas with 13 points.
UF committed 16 turnovers in the game and shot 41.1 percent from the field.
Florida will look to get the bad taste from Tuesday’s contest out of its mouth when it hosts Mississippi State on Saturday at 5 p.m. in a game that will air live on FOX Sports Network. The Gators defeated the Bulldogs 82-47 in Starkville, MS on Jan. 26.