2019 SEC Tournament scores: Florida rolls past Arkansas to enhance NCAA Tournament resume

By Adam Silverstein
March 14, 2019
2019 SEC Tournament scores: Florida rolls past Arkansas to enhance NCAA Tournament resume

Image Credit: UAA Communications

After dropping three straight games to end the regular season, the Florida Gators got a bit of their groove back Thursday afternoon with a 66-50 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2019 SEC Tournament. Florida (18-14) trailed much of the first half but were able to pull ahead in the second half and ultimately roll Arkansas (17-15) to the finish to pick up a key win that may earn the team a 2019 NCAA Tournament bid.

Let’s take a look at what went down in this UF win.

It was over when … Florida went up 10 with 3:20 to play following a jumper by freshman forward Keyontae Johnson, whose basket was the second make as part of a 10-0 run that put the Gators ahead by 16 points with the game winding down. Arkansas led most of the first half, but Florida took a 2-point lead into the break. After a brief tie, UF retook the lead with just 2 minutes into the second half and never trailed for the remaining 18:02. It was a complete effort for a Gators team that took a while to get started but clearly settled down, reduced their turnovers and out-talented the Razorbacks when push came to shove.

Exceptional efforts: Johnson was outstanding with the first double-double for a UF freshman in an SEC Tournament game since Donnell Harvey. he posted a team-high 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting (3 of 5 from three) with 12 rebounds. Not to be left out, senior guard KeVaughn Allen once again dominated his hometown team with 17 points, making 3 of 7 triples and both of his free throws. Allen broke out of an extended funk as he had shot just 16.1 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from downtown over the last four games. Senior center Kevarrius Hayes earned praise from head coach Mike White after the game for posting 8 points and 7 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Odds and ends: Still cold is freshman G Noah Locke, who went 1 for 9 from the floor … redshirt senior G Jalen Hudson and freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard combined to go 2 for 11 from the field for 13 points, though Hudson grabbed five boards and Nembhard dished eight assists … despite the significant win margin, Florida shot below 40 percent from the field once again

What it means: The decisive victory likely gives the Gators a bid in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, though some bracketologists believe Florida will need to beat No. 1 seed LSU on Friday to lock up a spot in the 68-team field. The truth is that the bubble this year is not particularly strong, and the Gators’ resume — including a high NET rating — is likely enough to already have them in the tournament regardless of the outcome of their game against the Tigers.

Up next: Florida will face the lone ranked opponent it has defeated this season when it takes on LSU. The game will tip at 1 p.m. ET and air live nationally on ESPN.


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