Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
In the Lane:
Balance big key for Hogs
NWA MEDIA/SAMANTHA BAKER -- Arkansas' Mardracus Wade climbs into the stands after the Razorbacks beat No. 2 Florida Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Arkansas upset the Gators, 80-69.
FAYETTEVILLE No Arkansas player scored more than 13 points Tuesday night, but the wave of Razorbacks who scored and contributed and hit three-point shots was substantial in their 80-69 upset of No. 2 Florida.
All 11 Razorbacks who played more than two minutes broke into the scoring column, with Marshawn Powell and Michael Qualls scoring 11 points each. Only seven Florida players saw more than one minute of action, and only six of them scored.
“The other team really doesn’t know who to key in on if everybody is scoring from every different position,” Powell said.
“We’re running hard and we’re attacking them.”
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said if he had game balls to give out, he would hand one to the Walton Arena crowd and the other to his bench players.
Arkansas’ reserves, led by BJ Young, Hunter Mickelson, Ky Madden and Jacorey Williams, outscored Florida’s bench 40-12. The disparity included a 21-6 edge in the first half, when Young and Williams scored a combined 15 points.
Young led Arkansas with 13 points, while Madden and Mickelson scored eight apiece. Williams scored all seven of his points in the first half.
Ranked Florida teams have found Fayetteville treacherous.
The No. 2 Gators’ 80-69 loss Tuesday dropped them to 0-3 in Fayetteville as a top-10 team.
Arkansas beat the No. 5 Gators 94-92 in overtime at Walton Arena on Jan. 26, 2002. The Hogs also took down No. 10 Florida 85-81 in overtime Feb. 18, 2006, a season in which the Gators went on to claim the first of their back-to-back national championships.
Florida has a 2-5 record in Fayetteville as a top-25 team, including last year’s 98-68 victory when the Gators were No. 14.
Florida guard Kenny Boynton vowed a different performance will be in store the next time the Gators see Arkansas.
“We’ll see them again, and it’ll be a different story,” he said. “I promise you we’ll come out and play harder next time we see them. We just have to learn from this game.”
The Razorbacks, whose minus-7.8 rebound margin ranked 13th out of 14 SEC teams in conference play, edged Florida 34-33 in rebounds.
The Gators led the SEC with a plus-8.4 rebounding margin in conference games.
Arkansas took a 19-13 edge in rebounding in the first half, including a 15-3 advantage on Florida’s offensive end, an area where the Gators have been dangerous all year.
“Our goal tonight was to attack and play physical and don’t let them beat us on theboards too much,” Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell said.
“Coach has put so much emphasis on it in practice and games that everybody was focused on defense and rebounding,” Arkansas forward Jacorey Williams said.
Florida had gone 4-0 in SEC road games and allowed an average of 48.25 points in those games against LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia and Mississippi State.
Arkansas topped that average by more than 31 points, breaking the 48-point mark on Michael Qualls’ jumper at the 18:49 mark of the second half.
The Razorbacks exceeded Florida’s highest point total allowed (in a 67-61 loss to Kansas State) on Fred Gulley’s free throw with 8:06 left.
Arkansas’ victory improved its record to 11-15 against Florida, with all the games coming since the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1991-92.
Florida’s Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy, who torched Arkansas for a combined 6-of-13 three-point shooting and 38 points last season, had a cold first half.
Murphy went 0 of 3 and had 2 turnovers and 1 point at the half, while Boynton went 1 of 5 and scored 3 points. Murphy’s frustration was evident when he bulled into Mardracus Wade for a charging foul halfway through the period after he opened 0 of 2 from threepoint range.
The Gators made 13 of 23 three-pointers in their 98-68 victory over the Hogs last Feb. 18, but went 10 of 27 (37 percent) Tuesday.
Return of Pel
Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey, who compiled a 69-59 record as Arkansas’ head coach from 2007-2011, returned to Walton Arena for the second time since his dismissal.
The Gators dealt Arkansas its worst home loss, 98-68, last season in Pelphrey’s first return to Fayetteville.
Pelphrey began pointing and waving to a few Arkansas fans immediately after entering the arena floor prior to tipoff, and he gave hugs and pats on the back to Scotty Thurman, the Hogs’ director of student-athlete development, and trainer Dave England as he made his way down the Arkansas bench shaking hands.
Florida forward Erik Murphy reached over the heads of a couple of reporters to bump fists with Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell and Jacorey Williams, who were passing by him to walk into the interview room.
… Florida forward Will Yeguete came out after just one minute in the first half with a knee problem. Gators Coach Billy Donovan said Yeguete’s knee was swollen, and he’ll have a magnetic resonance imaging on it in Gainesville, Fla.
Sports, Pages 22 on 02/06/2013