Hogs are scrappy by nature.
On Wednesday, they gave the Gators trouble.
Florida held an 80-72 lead with just 47 seconds left in the game, but after three made three-pointers by Arkansas, the Razorbacks found themselves down by just two points with 6.5 seconds remaining. However, UF Freshman KeVaughn Allen made two free throws to seal the victory for the Gators, holding off a late Arkansas comeback.
Florida defeated Arkansas 87-83 on Wednesday night in the O’Connell Center despite the determined comeback attempt by the Razorbacks. Arkansas made six of its final seven field-goal attempts, but Florida’s success at the free-throw line in the final seconds secured the win.
"The last minute of the game, I feel like I aged a year," UF coach Mike White said. "(Arkansas) would not go away."
Forward Dorian Finney-Smith led the Gators (15-7, 6-3 Southeastern Conference) with 22 points and nine rebounds, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range. The redshirt senior continued to lead Florida’s offense, scoring at least 20 points in four of his last five games.
Sophomore Chris Chiozza scored 17 points and dished out eight assists in the win while center John Egbunu added 14 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
"We’re shooting the ball with confidence. We’re making them," Finney-Smith said. "We’re not just being shot takers. We’re being shot makers."
Florida converted 30 of its 36 free-throw attempts, including seven of eight in the final minute, as Arkansas played the foul game to try to stay alive. UF’s free-throw success balanced out a 5-of-19 night from three-point range.
"The foul line is as good as we’ve been and it’s as good as I expect them to be. Proud of our guys for stepping up," White said. "It wasn’t our best overall effort, but it was by far and away our best effort at the foul line. We showed a lot of mental toughness."
Arkansas (11-11, 4-5 SEC) gave Florida problems with its defensive press, offensive rebounding and timely three-point shooting. The Razorbacks grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and scored 14 second-chance points while shooting 47.6 percent from behind the arc. Senior Anthlon Bell scored 24 points for Arkansas and guard Dusty Hannahs added 20. As a team, Arkansas shot 45.3 percent from the field, but its comeback fell just short.
"It was a great offensive game for us, but defensively it was a little lackluster," Chiozza said. "We just were worried about not fouling, so we were gonna make them take tough shots and they started making them down the stretch."
Florida has won five of its last six games — its lone loss over that stretch being by one point to Vanderbilt. Now, the Gators’ focus turns to No. 20 Kentucky, who they will face in Lexington on Saturday afternoon.
"I sense that we’re coming together more, but we can’t get complacent," Chiozza said. "Every night in the SEC is gonna be a battle so we’ve got to come out ready to fight every night ... just be ready to go to war."