Fastbreak: Arkansas dominates Florida, bouncing Gators out of 2018 SEC Tournament

By Adam Silverstein
March 9, 2018
Fastbreak: Arkansas dominates Florida, bouncing Gators out of 2018 SEC Tournament

Image Credit: ESPN Images

After ending the 2017-18 regular season in incredibly strong fashion,
No. 23 Florida Gators basketball (20-12) was immediately bounced out of the 2018 SEC Tournament on Friday night as the Arkansas Razorbacks (23-10) thoroughly dominated the lower seed 80-72 during quarterfinal action in St. Louis, Missouri.

Let’s take a look at Friday’s embarassing loss in Fastbreak:

It was over when … The Razorbacks rattled off a torrid 16-2 run to break a tie and take a 14-point lead on the Gators with six minutes to play. UF went scoreless for nearly five minutes and made just 1-of-8 field goals during the stretch. The double-digit deficit was insurmountable for the No. 3 seed as the Hogs simply out-efforted their opponents the entire game. There was some back-and-forth over the final minute … until this exclamation point …

First half focus: Florida started hot by draining 4-of-7 threes and led by as many as eight midway through the first half. However, as UF is wont to do, it allowed Arkansas to not only get back in the game but rally to take the lead before halftime. The Razorbacks ended the first 20 minutes on an 8-0 run as the Gators went 1-for-9 from the field and did not score a single point the final 4:54 of the half.

Exceptional efforts: Redshirt sophomore guard Keith Stone was Florida’s only complete player on Friday, and he showed out in a major way with a team-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Stone drained 4-of-5 triples and grabbed five boards. No one else came close to even being effective or complimentary.

Odds and ends: Arkansas ended a eight-game losing streak to Florida as the Hogs beat the Gators for the first time since Feb. 2, 2013 … UF had won 13 of the last 14 in the series … there were a lot of garbage time points scored for Florida, including a three by redshirt junior G Jalen Hudson, who before that went 1-for-8 from the field with three points in the game … graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov hit his first two shots (both threes) before missing nine straight over the remainder of the game … junior G KeVaughn Allen scored 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting against his home state team … sophomore center Gorjok Gak and freshman C Dontay Bassett played a combined nine minutes … Arkansas dominated the glass against Florida 43-28 (14-8 offensive) … the Hogs outscored the Gators 30-20 in the paint and 18-15 on second chances

What it means: Florida looked like it had finally found itself after an extremely difficult middle part of its league schedule. Instead, the Gators proved they are the exact same team they have been all year. If the shots fall, they can win — and even blow out opponents. If not, UF is unable to match up in the post and score consistently in the paint. Florida was flirting with a higher-than-expected seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament at season’s end but will now likely be a No. 7 seed or lower.

Up next: The Gators’ postseason will continue in the NCAA Tournament. Florida’s seed, opponent and game location will be announced on Sunday evening.

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