No. 12 Florida continues hot run with win vs. Arkansas
No. 12 Florida continues hot run with win vs. Arkansas
- No. 12 Florida continues hot run with win vs. Arkansas
Published On: Wed, Mar 01
Dec 19, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA;Florida A&M Rattlers forward Trey Kellum (25) drives to the basket as South Florida Bulls forward Victor Rudd (2) defends during the first half at USF Sun Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Canyon Barry's right ankle is nearing full health and he once again appears like the best player on the Florida roster.
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But coach Mike White takes it a step further when talking about the player who hasn't started a single game all season.
"He's the sixth man of the year in this league," White said after No. 12 Florida's 78-65 victory in Wednesday's SEC game. "He should be. Or I'm gonna throw a fit."
The senior swingman scored 14 points and the Gators (24-6, 14-3) won for the 10th time in 11 games with the solid victory over Arkansas at Gainesville, Fla.
It was a much-needed outing for Barry, who injured his ankle against Mississippi State on Feb. 18. He had just three total points on 1-of-8 shooting over the past two games while playing through the injury.
Barry said he was able to jump without pain against the Razorbacks and is "starting to get my explosion back." Yet the youngest son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry wasn't interested in being viewed as the hero of a victory in which six Florida players scored at least eight points during the team's final home game of the season.
"I think that speaks to this team in general, how any given night any person can step up and have a big game," Barry said. "Really happy for those guys that we were able to send all of us out on a win and give the Gator fans what they wanted."
Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen, junior point guard Chris Chiozza and senior point guard Kasey Hill added 12 points apiece for the Gators. Florida clinched the No. 2 seed for next week's SEC tourney by defeating the Razorbacks for the seventh straight time and 12th in the past 13 meetings.
Junior guard Jaylen Barford contributed 18 points and four steals for Arkansas (22-8, 11-6), which had a five-game winning streak halted. Senior center Moses Kingsley had 17 points and nine rebounds and senior guard Dusty Hannahs added 13 points.
Despite the defeat being the first for the Razorbacks since Feb. 7, coach Mike Anderson was fielding questions pertaining to whether his team is worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid.
"I think we put ourselves in pretty good position," Anderson said. "We have 22 wins, 11 wins in the league, we have a good league.
"We are one of the top 64 teams in the country."
The Razorbacks trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half and whittled their deficit to single digits at 46-37 on Kingsley's tip-in with 14:09 to play.
Chiozza drained a 3-pointer to give Florida a 51-39 lead but Arkansas answered with the next six points to draw within 51-45 with 9:45 remaining. But the Gators quickly pushed the lead back to 14 as Barry hit a jumper, junior forward Devin Robinson connected on a 3-pointer and freshman forward Keith Stone converted a three-point play.
The Razorbacks made another change and pulled within 66-59 on a 3-pointer by Hannahs with 4:23 left. Florida again responded a short time later as Hill nailed a 3-pointer and Chiozza hit a jumper to give the Gators a 74-61 edge with 2:28 remaining.
Arkansas trailed by at least nine points the rest of the contest.
"I thought they settled down and made some plays," Anderson said of the Gators. "That's what good teams do."
Barry scored 11 first-half points and Allen added 10 as the Gators shot 56.7 percent from the field while taking a 41-28 halftime lead.
Florida used a 10-0 spurt to take an early 12-4 edge and the advantage increased to 20-8 on a dunk by sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes with 13:08 left in the half. Chiozza scored on a layup to push the lead to 27-11 with 9:34 remaining.
Arkansas cut its deficit to 35-24 on a three-point play by Barford with 4:07 left before the Gators sailed into the break with the 13-point edge.
NOTES: Florida senior swingman Canyon Barry missed one of his patented underhand free throws, just his second miss in his last 52 attempts. ... The Razorbacks dropped to 2-12 while visiting Florida, with its last road win in the series being a 94-85 victory on Feb. 28 1995. ... Gators freshman C Gorjok Gak (foot) returned from an injury suffered during practice on Feb. 13 and had two points and two rebounds in eight minutes. ... Arkansas had a three-game road winning streak halted.
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