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Florida 57, Arkansas 56: Gators escape again, this time at home against Hogs

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Florida needed every point on this afternoon. Michael Frazier's last two swung the game.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It went down to the wire again for the Gators, for the second time this week.

And for the second time this week, beleaguered Florida got big plays from key players in crunch time — and won a much-needed SEC game.

Michael Frazier II drained two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining, staking Florida to the 57-56 lead that would be the final margin, and Kasey Hill stole the subsequent Arkansas inbounds pass to snuff out any hopes that Hog heaven would be found in Gainesville this Saturday.

Frazier failed to make a three for the second consecutive game after setting a school record with 41 consecutive contests with a make, and finished with just six points, but his final two handed the Razorbacks their 10th straight loss at the O'Connell Center.

Dorian Finney-Smith led the Gators with 16 points and nine rebounds — he's averaging 19 and 12 against Arkansas in two career games — and both kept Florida in it early with a series of dunks and sank a three to give the Gators a nine-point lead in the second half, their largest of the day.

The Hogs would respond with a 13-3 run, though, and took the lead with 10 seconds to play on an Anton Beard layup that came on Alandise Harris's missed game-tying free throw.

But Frazier was fouled — on a questionable call — while trying to score off an offensive board at the other end, and made the 16th and 17th free throws of the day for Florida.

The win moves the Gators to 5-3 in conference play, and what is likely to be a logjam in third in the SEC: Arkansas, too, is now 5-3 in conference, and three other teams currently hold 5-2 marks.

Florida's faint NCAA Tournament hopes were significantly bolstered by this win, especially because Arkansas held a top-20 mark in RPI entering today. But the Gators will need to stay within spitting distance of undefeated Kentucky in the SEC standings to keep that flame flickering.