It was not always pretty, but Florida defeated Arkansas 71-66 Thursday night. The Gators (13-5, 2-2 SEC) might have also found their go-to-man; guard Erving Walker.
Walker scored 27 points, including 5-6 from three-point range. Walker was the Florida offense in the first half, scoring 15 and making every shot. Walker also had four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Kenny Boynton played a strong second fiddle, scoring 13, but was 1-7 from three point range. Alex Tyus had an awful night shooting (3-11) but scored 11 (going 5-6 at the line) and pulling 11 rebounds. Chandler Parsons was also cold from the field (1-8, 6pts), but he found a way to help with 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
Florida and Arkansas (8-10, 1-2) each played an ugly first half. Vernon Macklin, Parsons and Tyus combined for five points in the first frame. UF was able to get underneith on offense, with 17 offensive rebounds. But it took until halfway through the second half to get any second chance points. Florida also struggled with guarding Rotnei Clarke (6-11, 5-8 3pt, 17 pts) but a lot of teams have done that. Has a whole though, Arky shot 40% (8-20) from three-point range, which is slightly better than their season average of 36%. Once again, it was UF's inability to defend in the paint and convert on offense that was an issue. They made up for it by rebounding extremely well, with a 41-29 rebounding edge, 17-5 on the offensive glass.
Florida faces South Carolina (11-7, 2-2) Saturday in Gainesville.