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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Gators pick-up much needed first conference win

January 9, 2019
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The Florida Gators (9-5,1-1) were victorious Wednesday night beating the Arkansas Razorbacks (10-4,1-1) 57-51 to earn their first conference win of the season. The Razorbacks made things interesting at the end, but the Gators were ultimately able to hold onto the win, something they failed to the last time on the court.

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WHAT WENT WRONG/RIGHT: Fortunately for the Gators, the Razorbacks didn’t play their best game Wednesday. The Razorbacks had a poor offensive performance and didn’t find their stride until late in the game. The Razorbacks committed 16 turnovers, with many forced by the Gators defense. Another strong defensive performance was turned in by the Gators and was the difference getting the victory.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: Little Rock native KeVaughn Allen has enjoyed some successful games during his collegiate career against the home-state Razorbacks. Entering Wednesday, Allen averaged 16 points per game against Arkansas. Allen looked plenty comfortable to be back in his home-state, as he led the Gators with 18 points.

For the Razorbacks, Mason Jones was red hot all night, scoring more than half his team’s points. Jones finished the game with 30 points and was scoring in an abundance of ways, particularly from beyond the arc, making four three-pointers.

NUMBERS DON’T LIE: Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford is one of the best players in the conference and could be playing in the NBA right now had he declared as a freshman. Gafford decided to return to Arkansas and he’s played a huge role in their strong start to the season, averaging 17 points a game entering the game. That wasn’t the case for Gafford Wednesday, as he faced early foul trouble and the Gators were able to minimize his effect on the game. Gafford only scored 9 points, which is a good sign for the Gators as they’ve struggled against opposing big-men all season.

BOTTOM LINE: The Gators were pressed into a pressure situation where they desperately needed a win to get back on track. It wasn’t pretty, but the Gators still got the job done. It’s been a rollercoaster season thus far for the Gators and could be considered a rocky start. But Wednesday night’s win against a quality conference opponent could be what the Gators needed to get things rolling.

UP NEXT: The Gators are set to play host to the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at 6. The Volunteers will enter Saturday as the top ranked team the Gators have faced and maybe the best one. The Vols’ are a very balanced, well coached team led by the play of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield.

 

Instant Analysis: Gators pick-up much needed first conference win

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