The Florida Gators and Arkansas Razorbacks entered Bud Walton with the best and second-best three-point percentages in the Southeastern Conference, respectively, but there seemed to be a lid on the basket for both teams. Points in the paint proved to be the difference as the Gators beat the Razorbacks, 65-51, Jan. 18.
“From the beginning, Florida clearly had a greater sense of urgency, and it’s all my fault,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said.
For the game, Arkansas went 5-for-30 from behind the arc and Florida shot 7-for-29. The Hogs were feeling the loss of senior guard Devin Cosper as Florida outscored the Razorbacks 36-18 in the paint, using its size to its advantage. Cosper missed the game after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of the Razorbacks’ win against Auburn Jan. 14.
The three-point struggles started early as the Razorbacks started 0-for-3 and the Gators went on a 9-0 run in the first 2:30 of the game..
The bricks kept coming throughout the first half, but Florida found its shots on the inside. Florida outscored the Razorbacks in the paint 18-8 in the first half to build up a 35-28 halftime lead.
The Razorbacks were 4-for-17 from three in the first half. Arkansas junior guard Malica Monk stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Gator senior forward Paulina Hersler led Florida with 12 points by making two threes and bullying her way into the paint. Senior forward Haley Lorenzen had 10 points with eight of them coming from within the paint.
The Gators began to pull away in the third quarter by outscoring the Razorbacks, 18-7, in the period. Arkansas couldn’t find much of anything, going 1-for-7 from deep and 2-for-18 overall. The struggles were punctuated by an airball from Arkansas sophomore point guard Jailyn Mason, who tried to hoist up a buzzer-beating three to keep the Razorbacks in the game.
The fourth quarter saw Arkansas making a small 6-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points, but the team never getting any closer. Arkansas went 0-for-6 to end the game after the run, and Florida finished up with two more quick layups.
Monk paced the Razorbacks with a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists. She was the only Razorback in double figures.
Hersler led the Gators with 19 points and added seven rebounds. Gator sophomore guard Delicia Washington scored 14 points along with nine rebounds. Lorenzen finished with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The Razorbacks will try to make their way back to the win column against the Missouri Tigers at 4 p.m. Jan. 21 in Columbia, Missouri.