FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UofA) – Freshman BJ Young tallied a career high 31 points
on Saturday evening to lead the University of Arkansas men's basketball
team, but despite his effort, the Razorbacks fell to the No. 14/12
Florida Gators, 98-68, at Bud Walton Arena.
The loss drops the Razorbacks to 17-10 on the year and 5-7 in Southeastern Conference play while Florida improves to 21-6 overall and 9-3 in league action. The loss was Arkansas' first at Bud Walton Arena this season and snaps the 10th longest winning streak in school history which was 17 games before the loss.
"That was a tough day," Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "Billy (Donovan) has a dynamite team and they made shots even when they were contested. I appreciate the fans coming out to see us tonight. We had the opportunity to make plays and weren't able to."
Florida had the hot hand early, shooting better than 50 percent through the opening 10 minutes of the game which included six three-point baskets. It allowed the Gators to jump out to a lead that Arkansas was unable to overcome. The Razorbacks chipped away with a 5-0 run midway through the period, but back-to-back three-point baskets by the Gators stretched the lead once more.
Young would score 23 of his 31 points in the second half as he finished the game 10-of-19 from the field, 3-of-6 from three, and 8-of-12 from the free throw line while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing an assist and making two steals. Young's performance was three-points better than the 28 he put up against defending national champion Connecticut and was the first 30-point game by a Razorback since late January of 2011 when former Razorback Rotnei Clarke scored 36 against Vanderbilt.
"BJ was the best player on the floor for us tonight," Anderson said.
Along with Young's effort, fellow first-year player Devonta Abron scored 11 points in 19 minutes. Abron went to the free throw line nine times in the game and hit a career high seven free throws. Senior Marvell Waithe's seven rebounds led the Razorbacks.
Arkansas played Florida tough in the second half, but could not overcome a 30-percent shooting effort over the opening 20 minutes. During that same time, Florida shot 61 percent and buried nine three-pointers to take a 26-point lead into the break.
For the Gators, Erving Walker matched Young point-for-point as he also scored 31 points. He was aided by Kenny Boynton's 25, Bradley Beal's 21 and Erik Murphy's 13. For the game, the Gators were 13-of-23 from three against the SEC's best three-point defense.
The Razorbacks are back on the court on Thursday night when they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bud Walton Arena at 6 p.m.