Billy Donovan insisted his team wouldn’t be looking for payback against Arkansas on Saturday.
They got it anyway.
After a slow first half by the Gators, Florida pulled away in the second, handling the Razorbacks 71-54.
With three days to rest after their loss to Missouri on Tuesday, a fresh-looking Gators team took the floor on Saturday eager to prove their early-season loss to the Razorbacks was simply a fluke.
Florida jumped out to a quick 7-1 lead to start the game, but it would only hold momentarily, as Arkansas would rally back to tie the game at 8. The game would stay close for a few minutes, but when Razorbacks do-everything forward Marshawn Powell collected his second foul of the game, Florida looked to take advantage.
With Powell on the bench, the Gators would push their lead to eight, with guard Kenny Boynton helping lead the charge. However, despite Powell’s absence, Florida could not build on its lead, and instead saw the Razorbacks climb to within four points by the halftime break.
Boynton led Florida with nine points at the half and Mike Rosario chipped in seven as the Gators took a 32-28 lead into the locker room.
Upon retaking the court, the Gators started the second half of action in a similar fashion to the first, jumping out to a 7-1 run. Within minutes, again Powell had collected two fouls, rendering him to the Arkansas bench.
With Powell almost completely out of the picture, this time, the Gators would take advantage, pushing their lead to 14 by the 17:53 mark.
When Arkansas gave the Gators their first SEC-loss of the season in Fayetteville, Florida never appeared to be in the game. Although the Razorbacks kept it close in the first half, early on in the second, it was clear they had no shot of handing Florida it’s first home loss of the season.
With Powell reserved on the bench for most of the half, the Gators cruised in front of the capacity O’Connell Center crowd.
Although Florida’s team shooting left a bit to be desired, the Gators again exhibited balanced scoring on Saturday, with four starters finishing in double digits. Mike Rosario led all scorers with 15, while Patric Young finished with 14 points. Both Boynton and Erik Murphy would add 12.
Freshman guard Michael Frazier II left the game in the second half with what Florida is calling a concussion.
The Gators next head to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers for their first meeting of the season on Tuesday. The game is at 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.