GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Mike Rosario scored 15 points and Patric Young added 14 on Saturday night to pace a balanced attack that helped No. 5 Florida rebound from one of its two Southeastern Conference losses with a 71-54 victory over Arkansas.
Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy both had 12 points for the first-place Gators (22-4, 12-2 SEC), who also bounced back from squandering a 13-point lead over the final 11 minutes of a 63-60 loss at Missouri to regain a two-game lead in the SEC over Alabama, which lost on the road earlier in the day to LSU in triple overtime.
The Gators played their worst game of the season in falling behind early and losing 80-69 to Arkansas (17-10, 8-6) in Fayetteville, but never trailed in this one. Boynton made a 3-pointer to open the game, Rosario scored on a fast break and Young followed up a miss by Boynton with a rim-shaking dunk for a 7-0 lead.
The putback and a capacity crowd in the O’Connell Center seemed to energize the 6-foot-9 Young, who took just seven shots and scored four points in Florida’s previous two games. Boynton made a layup and a runner in the lane to put the Gators up 23-13 before the Razorbacks settled and gradually chipped away at the deficit.
Arkansas trailed 32-28 at halftime, despite only getting three points from leading scorer BJ Young — all on free throws — and playing the final 10:45 before the break without Marshawn Powell, who made three of his first four shots before picking up two offensive fouls that sent him to the bench.
The Gators pulled away for good with an 11-1 spurt to begin the second half.
Rosario began the surge with a reverse layup, Boynton fueled it with a long a 3-pointer and Young finished with a jump hook and another rebound dunk that left the Gators in control at 41-29 with just under 17 minutes to go. Michael Frazier II’s second 3-pointer hiked the lead to 17, and the closest Arkansas got the rest of the way was 16 points with 31 seconds remaining.
Coty Clarke made all eight of his field goal attempts and led the Razorbacks with 18 points, while Anthlon Bell finished with 14. Powell had seven points — none in the second-half — and Young also was scoreless after halftime, finishing 0 for 8 from the field.
Frazier, who’s one of Florida’s top reserves, fell to the court and left the game midway through the second half with what coach Billy Donovan said was a concussion that will sideline the freshman guard for an indefinite period. Frazier had six points on 2-for-9 shooting, and the Gators got eight points and nine rebounds from reserve Casey Prather.