GAINESVILLE — Florida junior guard Kenny Boynton believes there's one thing you can say about the Gators: They are a resilient bunch.
Four days after allowing Missouri to rally from a 13-point second-half deficit, No. 5 Florida bounced back with a 71-54 victory over Arkansas in front of a sold-out O'Connell Center on Saturday night.
With the victory and Alabama's 97-94 triple-overtime loss to LSU on Saturday, the Gators (22-4, 12-2 SEC) have a two-game lead in the conference race with four games left.
"I didn't worry about our team coming out to play," said Boynton, who had 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. "Coming off the loss to Missouri, it definitely felt good to come out and get a win. It says we're able to regroup."
The Gators' victory came with balanced scoring and a rediscovered inside game. Florida had four players in double figures, led by senior guard Mike Rosario with 15. And unlike several recent games, UF found a way to get junior center Patric Young into the flow. He had 14 points (on 7-of-10 shooting from the field) and seven rebounds.
"It's a total choice by him," coach Billy Donovan said of Young's performance. "It is a commitment. As big and strong as he is, there is no reason he shouldn't demand the ball every time when he gets down inside."
With Arkansas (17-10, 8-6) star forward Marshawn Powell in foul trouble most of the game, Florida outscored the Razorbacks 42-18 in the paint.
UF, which suffered a season-worst 80-69 loss in Fayetteville 18 days earlier, led 32-28 at halftime. Arkansas outscored the Gators 15-7 in the final 6:44 of the half while Florida scored four in the final 4:22.
The Gators shot 40.6 percent from the field and made just 4 of 13 3-pointers in the first half. Florida was aided by nine first-half Arkansas turnovers.
But in the second half, UF shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first 12 minutes.
"It was one of those days where especially in the second half, it was all going to Florida," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]