For the first time in 14 years, the Arkansas Razorbacks beat a No. 2 team in the country in the Florida Gators.
Mike Anderson’s signature win of the 2012-2013 season kept the Hogs undefeated at home in the SEC, while the loss for Florida was their first conference loss of the season.
Florida, a team that has been dominant in most aspects all season, simply couldn’t handle the Razorbacks’ energy and the Bud Walton Arena crowd. Being the toast of the SEC, the Gators lead the conference in field goal percentage, three point percentage and three pointers per game. None of that was working for them against a stingy Hogs defense that pressured the ball and forced turnovers that led to easy points at the other end.
“Our defense was really engaged with one another, and then we had the guys off the bench,” said head coach Mike Anderson.
Depth was clearly a factor for Arkansas, as eight players finished with 7 points or more. With only seven players seeing significant playing time, Florida just simply couldn’t keep up with the attack and found themselves playing catch up the entire game.
Marshawn Powell and Michael Qualls finished with 11 points and BJ Young had 13 points five assists and four rebounds.
“I think he is one of the elite players in our league, he’s a very gifted offensive player,” Florida head coach Billy Donovan said about Powell.
Powell missed last years match up between the two teams at Bud Walton Arena, a 98-68 blowout win by the Gators. Things went in the opposite direction this year, as the Hogs lead by as many as 27 at one point, and simply couldn’t be stopped.
If there was any doubt the Hogs might relinquish their 43-26 halftime lead, Arkansas came out of the locker room on fire, forcing three straight turnovers that quickly pushed their lead back up to 23.
Florida appeared to have the significant size advantage with Patric Young, Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete, making them one of the best rebounding teams in the SEC. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday, as Young found himself in early foul trouble and Yeguete leaving the game early with a swollen knee. This paved the way for Arkansas to out rebound the Gators 34-33 on the glass, as Hunter Mickelson, Jacorey Williams and Michael Qualls all rebounding very well.
The Hogs shot 49.1 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the three point line, one of their best efforts from beyond the arc all season. For a team that wasn’t down by more than 11 points all season, Florida was certainly shell shocked when they were down by 27 at one point.
“The game ball goes to our crowd, this place was lively tonight, and it brought back a lot of memories for myself,” Anderson said.
The Hogs (14-8, 5-4 SEC) still need that first SEC road win, and will look to get it at Vanderbilt on Saturday.