Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. He and his wife live in Fayetteville.
Hogs' upset bid falls in OT
Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin makes a shot with 2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime during a Jan. 11, 2014 game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Playing with a sprained ankle, Scottie Wilbekin hit a shot off the glass with 2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and No. 10 Florida held off an upset bid Saturday at Bud Walton Arena.
Wilbekin scored nine more of his 18 points in overtime as the Gators beat Arkansas 84-82 in front of 18,040 fans. The loss snapped a 23-game home win streak for the Razorbacks, which was tied with Florida for the third-longest in college basketball entering the game.
RECORDS: Florida 13-2, 2-0 SEC; Arkansas 11-4, 0-2 SEC
LEADING SCORERS: Florida, Dorian Finney-Smith 22; Arkansas, Rashad Madden 23
TURNING POINT: Scottie Wilbekin hit a shot with 2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
NOTABLE: Arkansas fell to 11-7 all-time vs. Top 10 teams at Bud Walton Arena.
Wilbekin had missed the last two days of practice and didn't start after injuring his ankle on Wednesday against South Carolina. His game-tying shot came after Alandise Harris missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity for Arkansas with 17 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Razorbacks had taken the lead on a floater off the glass by Rashad Madden with 1:34 left in regulation.
Arkansas led 36-35 at halftime and by as many as seven points in the second half. Florida used a 5-0 run to tie the game in the closing minutes, capped by a Michael Frazier 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining.
Wilbekin hit a 3-pointer early in the overtime period to give the Gators a 71-66 lead. Arkansas closed to within 71-69 on Madden's fifth 3-pointer but could get no closer until Michael Qualls hit a 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer.
Trailing 82-79 with less than 20 seconds remaining in overtime Arkansas had a chance to tie the game, but Harris missed a shot underneath the basket instead of opting for a 3-point attempt.
The possession was set up when Wilbekin missed a pair of free throws. He made 8 of 10 free throws in the game, including 6 of 8 in the overtime period.
Dorian Finney-Smith's 3-pointer with less than two minutes left in overtime extended Florida's lead to 75-69 after Bobby Portis missed two free throws on the other end. Finney-Smith finished with 22 points to lead the Gators (13-2, 2-0 SEC).
Frazier added 15 points as Florida played without its leading scorer Casey Prather, who had a knee injury.
Madden scored 23 points to lead the Razorbacks (11-4, 0-2). Coty Clarke added 16 points and 14 rebounds and Portis scored 14 points.
The win was Florida's first as an Associated Press Top 10 team at Arkansas. The Gators had lost their three previous games as a top 10 team at Bud Walton Arena, including an 80-69 decision when ranked No. 2 last February.
The Razorbacks will host No. 14 Kentucky on Tuesday.