Allen scores 18, Florida holds off Arkansas

By: Kurt Voigt, Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Arkansas' Mason Jones looks for help while Florida's Jalen Hudson defends Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas' Mason Jones looks for help while Florida's Jalen Hudson defends Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Kevaughn Allen scored 18 points and Florida narrowly avoided blowing a large second-half lead for a second straight game in a 57-51 win at Arkansas on Wednesday night.

The win is the third straight and fifth in the last six games in Fayetteville for the Gators (9-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference), who were coming off a home loss to South Carolina last week — a game in which they led by 14 points with 11 minutes remaining.

Florida led by 16 points with 9:13 remaining against the Razorbacks (10-4, 1-1), only to see that lead shrink to 53-51 with under a minute remaining. Allen, originally from Arkansas, hit four free throws in the final 12 seconds to secure the win for the Gators and finished 11 of 12 from the line.

Noah Locke also finished in double figures with 10 points for Florida, which held Arkansas to just 30 percent (15 of 50) shooting. Allen scored 11 first-half points as Florida built a 33-22 halftime lead, and the Gators appeared well on their way to a comfortable victory before the Razorbacks rallied.

Mason Jones scored a career-high 30 points for Arkansas, finishing 7 of 13 from the field and hitting 12 of 13 free throws in the loss. Razorbacks standout Daniel Gafford played with four fouls for much of the second half and finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Florida was in desperate need of a win on Wednesday after opening SEC play with a home loss to South Carolina, a game in which the Gators let a 14-point lead with 11 minutes remaining slip away. A loss against the Razorbacks would have had Florida facing the real possibility of an 0-3 start to conference play with No. 3 Tennessee visiting Gainesville on deck — and two road games after that.

UP NEXT

Florida hosts the Volunteers on Saturday.

The Razorbacks host LSU on Saturday.

EARLIER

Florida 57, Arkansas 51 - Final

Arkansas has now lost three games in Bud Walton Arena this season after the Gators, fresh off a home loss to South Carolina, edged the Razorbacks in their SEC home opener.

Mason Jones scored a career-high 30 points on 7/13 shooting, but couldn't get the potential game-tying bucket to go in the final half minute. Daniel Gafford added nine points and 12 rebounds. Arkansas shot 30 percent as a team and turned the ball over 16 times.

KeVaughn Allen scored a team-high 18 points for Florida. He scored seven in the second half, including four free throws late to seal the win for the Gators.

We'll have much more from this game a little bit later.

Florida 55, Arkansas 51 - 12 seconds left

Arkansas had a chance to tie or take the lead with under 30 seconds to play, but Mason Jones missed a runner in the lane and Adrio Bailey missed a putback after grabbing the miss. KeVaughn Allen made two free throws to push the Gators' lead to four.

Florida 53, Arkansas 49 - 1:20 left

Mason Jones has a career-high 28 points and has scored Arkansas' last five points to cut Florida's lead to four. The Razorbacks are on a 13-2 run over the last 4:08. After cutting the Gators' edge to five, Jalen Hudson hit a really tough midrange jumper to put Florida back up seven, but Jones answered with his fourth 3 of the game.

Florida 51, Arkansas 44 - 3:36 left

Arkansas is finally starting to climb back into this one after looking lifeless for a vast majority of the game. Isaiah Joe, Adrio Bailey, Mason Jones and Daniel Gafford each have a bucket over the Razorbacks' last five possessions during an 8-0 run.

Mason Jones has a career-high 23 points and Gafford is sitting at nine points and 11 rebounds. He has four fouls, and has been solid defensively since re-entering the game with around eight minutes left.

Florida ball out of the media timeout.

Florida 48, Arkansas 32 - 7:59 left

The Gators have taken full control, grabbing their largest lead of the night. It's also Arkansas' largest deficit of the season.

The Razorbacks are 1 of their last 10 from the floor and 3/15 overall since halftime. Isaiah Joe missed on a pair of really good looks from 3 but missed, and Florida turned around and scored immediately after. He is 1/7 from deep tonight.

A good amount of fans have headed for the exits with Arkansas down 16. Since Anderson called for time with 9:12 to go, Gabe Osabuohien missed a pair of free throws to push him to 0-for-4 on the night, and Joe turned the ball over as Arkansas swung the ball around the perimeter.

When it's not your night, it's not your night.

Florida 41, Arkansas 32 - 11:39 left

KeVaughn Allen - 14 points - buried his first 3 of the night to give Florida a 12-point lead prior to the media timeout, but Isaiah Joe answered with his first 3 of the game as well to set the current score. Joe's streak of 13 consecutive games in double figures is in jeopardy. He has 3 points. His 3 was the first by a Razorbacks player other than Mason Jones.

Both teams are 3/12 from the floor since the break. Razorbacks aren't doing a terrible job defensively, but the offense has been stagnant and largely dreadful. Arkansas has 14 scores on 53 possessions so far.

Florida 38, Arkansas 29 - 15:55 left

Mason Jones is really the only Arkansas player with touch offensively. He has a game-high 19 points on 5/8 from the floor and 3/6 from deep. The rest of the team is 4/22 shooting and 0/10 from 3. No other Razorbacks player has more than six points.

Arkansas hasn't been good from the line tonight, but it is one foul from being in the bonus the rest of the way. KeVaughn Allen - 11 points - just picked up his third foul.

Florida 33, Arkansas 22 - Halftime

Far and away the worst half of basketball Arkansas has played all season and the Razorbacks head into the break facing their largest deficit since the North Texas game (19-6). If Arkansas doesn't find some sort of a rhythm offensively then this will challenge the worst showings on that end of the floor in Mike Anderson's tenure. The Razorbacks scored on 10 of 39 first-half possessions.

Mason Jones leads Arkansas with 13 points and Gafford (5) is the only other player with more than two points. Gafford also has seven rebounds, but his minutes were limited in the first half due to foul trouble.

It gets worse for Arkansas. KeVaughn Allen has a team-high 11 points for Florida and surpassed his season scoring average with a pair of free throws with four seconds left in the half to set the current score.

Florida entered tonight's game seventh in the country in defensive turnover rate, forcing a turnover on 24.7 percent of opponents' possessions. Arkansas turned the ball over on 31 percent of its offensive possessions in the first half. Jalen Harris has a season-high 3, Jones has 3 as well and Osabuohien has a pair.

Florida 23, Arkansas 17 - 3:55 left first half

Well, Arkansas' offense woke up for a few possessions, but the bad news for Mike Anderson is that Florida's did, too. Since that 2/12 stretch, the Gators have hit 4/5 and their first 3-pointer of the night.

Mason Jones woke up the Bud Walton Arena crowd with a pair of 3s to pull the Razorbacks within 15-14 and 18-17, but Arkansas couldn't get a stop defensively. Also, Gafford picked up his second foul with 4:45 left in the half. That's not good news. Osabuohien - 4 rebounds - is in in his place.

Arkansas is up to 11 turnovers tonight, too, and Jalen Harris has a season-high 3 in the first half.

Florida 12, Arkansas 7 - 7:40 left first half

Daniel Gafford finally - finally - broke Arkansas' long scoring drought with a free throw at the 8:20 mark. The Razorbacks, since Adrio Bailey's dunk with 15:58 left in the half, have missed their last nine shots. This one has been ugly because the Gators haven't been a whole lot better offensively, missing 10 of their last 12.

In that same span, Arkansas turned the ball over seven times and has eight team turnovers to just three assists. Gafford has a team-high five points. Osabuohien and Bailey each have two fouls.

Mason Jones will be at the line when play resumes.

Florida 8, Arkansas 6 - 11:41 left first half

As you can tell by the score above this line, Arkansas did not score between the media timeouts. The Razorbacks missed all five of their looks. Keyshawn Embery-Simpson missed two shots, Desi Sills airballed a 3 from the right corner and Isaiah Joe and Gabe Osabuohien missed a pair of 3s.

Osabuohien, though, to his credit, has hit the glass hard tonight with Gafford and Bailey off the floor. He has a game-high four rebounds - one offensive - in four minutes.

Arkansas, after that last offensive drought, is 3/11 from the floor to begin the game.

Arkansas 6, Florida 2 - 15:24 left first half

Pretty fun start here tonight. Daniel Gafford scored the Razorbacks' first two buckets, one a layup on a lob from Jalen Harris and the other off a post-up against Florida big Kevarrius Hayes. Adrio Bailey has Arkansas' other score, a dunk after some great ball movement to beat the Gators' 1-2-2 three-quarter court pressure.

Florida isn't off to the greatest start on the offensive end, hitting just one of its first seven looks. KeVaughn Allen has Florida's only points on a tough, tough fadeaway jumper over the outstretched hand of Gafford.

Bailey picked up his second foul of the game prior to the media timeout. Gabe Osabuohien is in to replace him.

Pregame

Arkansas' starting lineup: Jalen Harris, Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones, Adrio Bailey and Daniel Gafford.

Mike Anderson will stick with his original starting lineup for the third consecutive game since starting freshman Reggie Chaney against Texas State prior to the New Year.

Florida's starters: KeVaughn Allen, Andrew Nembhard, Jalen Hudson, Noah Locke and Kevarrius Hayes.

Defensively, Florida is one of the best teams in the country with a defensive efficiency rating of 89.7. The Gators turn teams over on nearly 25 percent of their possessions, which ranks top-10 nationally, too, so Jalen Harris and Arkansas' guards will be tested in that way tonight.

Here are a list of the NBA teams with a scout in attendance tonight: Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota (2), Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, New York, Indiana, Atlanta, Washington and Dallas.

Live updates by Scottie Bordelon

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