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Florida Gators pull away late to beat Arkansas Razorbacks 80-65 in men's basketball

JUST A FLESH WOUND: UF quarterback Tim Tebow pulls off his sling during a halftime speech to basketball fans, telling them his recent surgery won’t affect him next season.

Associated Press

JUST A FLESH WOUND: UF quarterback Tim Tebow pulls off his sling during a halftime speech to basketball fans, telling them his recent surgery won’t affect him next season.

GAINESVILLE — Florida was bothered by foul trouble and cold shooting, so it turned to an old reliable weapon.

Nick Calathes scored a game-high 28 and added 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Florida held Arkansas scoreless for the last 4:13 to clinch an 80-65 victory Saturday.

"Nick Calathes was tremendous," said Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, a longtime Florida assistant in his first game back at the O'Connell Center. "He made a bunch of 3-point shots. He's a great, great passer."

UF (16-2, 3-0 SEC) found its shooting touch in the second half, going 8-of-13 from 3-point range in the second half after starting 1-for-12. Calathes, the sophomore guard/forward, had four of his six 3s after the half.

"Our 3-point shooting is definitely our main offense," Calathes said. "We can hit 14 threes in a game, we can hit two 3s in a game. When they fall, it's tough to beat us."

Coach Billy Donovan found himself turning to unusual lineups with starters Alex Tyus, Dan Werner and Walter Hodge stuck on the bench in foul trouble.

Freshman big man Kenny Kadji stepped up with 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench against the Razorbacks (12-4, 0-3), his second straight game in double figures.

"We've never played one second or one minute with (freshman 6-foot-8 forward) Allan Chaney at the center spot and Chandler Parsons at the 4," Donovan said. "We had some lineups out there that were really difficult lineups."

Florida started 5-1 in conference play last season before stumbling down the stretch to finish 8-8 and miss the NCAA Tournament.

"Every game that goes by here going forward is more and more challenging for our team," Donovan said. "I would really be disappointed in our guys if they really feel like we have anything figured out right now. We've done a good job the first week of the (conference) season. That's all it is: one week."

Florida 80

Arkansas 65

Florida Gators pull away late to beat Arkansas Razorbacks 80-65 in men's basketball 01/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 17, 2009 10:09pm]

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