Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Banged-up No. 10 Florida beats Arkansas in OT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Dorian Finney-Smith and Scottie Wilbekin weren't about to let a little thing like injuries get in the way for Florida.

The banged-up Gators, playing without leading scorer Casey Prather, overcame a host of ailments to earn an 84-82 overtime win at Arkansas on Saturday.

They did so behind a career-high 22 points from Finney-Smith, starting in Prather's place, as well as a timely jumper near the end of regulation from Wilbekin, who had nine points in overtime as Florida (13-2, 2-0 SEC) completed its comeback.

Prather, averaging 17 points, missed the game because of a bone bruise in his right knee, but he was hardly the only Gator affected by injuries. Wilbekin missed two days of practice last week with a sprained ankle, and center Patric Young also missed time with a sore knee.

Wilbekin finished with 18 points for Florida, and Michael Frazier had 15 and Young 10.

Finney-Smith, starting for the second time this season, added 15 rebounds — including nine offensive — while also hitting three 3-pointers.

"You're going into this game not really knowing what you're going to get," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I think the one guy we, at least I, tried to instill just a belief and confidence in was (Finney-Smith). Just to go, be aggressive, play through mistakes."

The Razorbacks (11-4, 0-2) had a chance to all but seal the win with 17.1 seconds left in regulation, but Alandise Harris missed a 1-and-1 to give Florida the ball back down 66-64.

Wilbekin answered with the tying bank shot with two seconds left for the Gators, who then took control quickly in overtime while snapping Arkansas' 23-game home winning streak.

"It means a lot to us," Finney-Smith said. "It tells you about our team. We play for each other. Any given night, it can be someone's night and tonight it was just me."

Ky Madden led the Razorbacks with a career-high 23 points, hitting 5 of 10 3-pointers. Coty Clarke added a season-high 16 points and 14 rebounds, but neither was enough for Arkansas, which has lost two straight for the first time this season.

"We just didn't finish the deal," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "We had opportunities at the free-throw line. We had some open shots we didn't make.

"This one hurts. Why? Because we felt we played well enough" to win.

Finney-Smith had nine points at halftime, and he continued to have the hot hand in the second half and overtime, where he scored five straight to put the Gators up 77-69.

Following two baskets from Harris, who finished with 11 points, the Razorbacks closed within 82-79 with 21.9 seconds left in overtime. However, Harris missed an inside attempt, and Wilbekin sealed the win from the line with 5.4 seconds left.

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