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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas guard Jalen Harris lays on the floor during a game against Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Fayetteville. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas basketball team can't get on a roll against Florida.

Not even two consecutive victories.

The Gators built a 16-point lead in the second half, then held on to beat the Razorbacks 57-51 on Wednesday night in Walton Arena before an announced crowd of 9,950.

Florida improved to 24-5 against Arkansas since 1997, including 14-2 in the teams' last 16 meetings.

Arkansas beat Florida 80-72 in the SEC Tournament last season to end an eight-game winning streak to the Gators.

The Razorbacks haven't beaten Florida in back-to-back games since they won the teams' first five meetings from 1992-96 after Arkansas joined the SEC.

KeVaughn Allen, a senior guard from Little Rock, led Florida (9-5, 1-1 SEC) with 18 points and hit 4 of 4 free throws in the final 12 seconds to clinch the victory. Gators freshman guard Noah Locke scored 10 points.

It was the lowest-scoring game in Walton Arena for the Razorbacks in eight seasons under Coach Mike Anderson. The previous low came in a 75-54 loss to LSU last season.

"We're going to have those bumps throughout the year, and that was a bump," Anderson said of having a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. "So hopefully we can get over it and learn from it.

Sophomore guard Mason Jones led Arkansas (10-4, 1-1) with a career-high 30 points.

Razorbacks sophomore Daniel Gafford had a season-low nine points and 12 rebounds. His previous scoring low had been 11 points in Arkansas' 73-71 victory at Texas A&M on Saturday.

Arkansas shot a season-low 30.0 percent (15 of 50) from the field. The Razorbacks' previous low was 37.1 percent at Texas A&M.

Jones hit 7 of 13 shots. The rest of the Razorbacks shot a combined 8 of 37 from the field.

"People were just off tonight," Jones said when asked if he felt he didn't get any help offensively. "When I'm off the other guys on the team are stepping up.

"Who knows? It's just one of those nights where everybody was just off, and I feel like I had to step up."

Jones scored 11 points in a 19-5 run by the Razorbacks that cut Florida's lead from 48-32 at the 9:13 mark of the second half to 53-51 with 1:02 left.

"Credit Mason Jones and the Razorbacks," Florida Coach Mike White said. "The [decibel] level in Bud Walton, it got electric in there, and they got us a little bit rattled there.

Gallery: UA Men's Basketball - Arkansas vs Florida

"But anytime you can come win here, my goodness we will take it."

After Gators freshman guard Andrew Nembhard missed a driving attempt with 41 seconds left, Arkansas got the rebound and Anderson called timeout with 33.1 seconds left.

After inbounding the ball to point guard Jalen Harris, Jones got the ball back, received a screen by Adrio Bailey and drove the lane.

Florida senior forward Jalen Hudson guarded Jones closely and forced an off-balance shot that missed. Bailey got the rebound, but couldn't convert.

"Coach A drew up a good play for me to come off the pick from Adrio and I feel like I had a lane," Jones said. "I feel like I should have pulled up, but I missed the shot.

"Adrio got the rebound, and he had a chance to make the layup and missed. We got two good shots in the last seconds.

"We're just going to keep learning lessons. Eventually we're going to get over the hump late in the game."

"We had a point-blank shot," Anderson said of Bailey's missed putback attempt. "It just seemed like that's how it was all night tonight."

Kevarrius Hayes got the rebound for Florida after Bailey's miss and passed the ball to Allen, who was fouled by Harris with 12 seconds left.

Allen hit two free throws for a 55-51 Florida lead. After Jones missed a three-pointer, Allen hit two more free throws with 2.3 seconds left.

Allen shot 3 of 11 from the field, but made 11 of 12 free throws.

"Never," Allen said when asked if he was nervous about the free throws in the final seconds. "I'm confident in my ability to take my time and knock them down."

Florida hit 15 of 19 free throws compared to 15 of 26 by Arkansas.

"That's the difference right there," Jones said. "We missed 11 free throws, they only missed four.

"We make half of [the missed] free throws and we win the game."

Jones hit 12 of 13 free throws, but his teammates shot 3 of 11. Gafford was 3 of 6.

"We work on them, we just have to knock them down," Jones said. "It's nothing Coach can do, because we're in the game, so it's on us to make the free throws. We just have to keep working on free throws I guess and focus more on it."

The Gators were able to hold off the Razorbacks after blowing a 14-point lead with 11 minutes left in a 71-69 loss to South Carolina at home on Saturday.

"I had that pit in my stomach like I did Saturday," White said. "I felt like we were watching the scoreboard, hoping for an SEC road win and hoping that the clock would run out and you can't be successful doing that.

"We made enough plays down the stretch, but it was the wrong mentality late in the game for for us both offensively and defensively. I thought KeVaughn and Jalen made enough plays to pull us through. We got a couple of stops there late."

Florida led 33-22 at halftime.

"We didn't show up with that sense of urgency in the first half and allowed Florida to get a cushion," Anderson said. "That went up even bigger in the second half."

Anderson credited his players for mounting a comeback that ultimately fell short.

"It's kind of a mountain you've got to climb," he said. " We didn't get it done.

"So give Florida credit. They're a good defensive team. But for us to score 51 points at home, that's something we've got to get better at."

The Razorbacks' bench, usually a strength that Anderson counts on, was scoreless. Reserves Gabe Osabuohien, Desi Sills, Reggie Chaney and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson shot a combined 0 of 11 from the field. Osauohien was 0 of 4 on free throws.

"They played hard, but they didn't score a point tonight," Anderson said of the bench players.

Florida shot almost as poorly as Arkansas. The Gators finished 31 percent (18 of 58) from the field.

"It was an ugly game, no question about that," Anderson said. "But for them you win ugly and that's a good thing."

Game sketch

RECORDS Arkansas 10-4, 1-1 SEC; Florida 9-5, 1-1

STARS Florida senior guard KeVaughn Allen (18 points, 5 rebounds). Arkansas sophomore guard Mason Jones (career-high 30 points, 3 assists)

TURNING POINT The Gators outscored the Razorbacks 15-5 in the final 5:03 of the first half to take a 33-22 halftime lead.

KEY STAT Arkansas shot a season-low 30 percent (15 of 50) from the field.

UP NEXT Arkansas plays LSU at 5 p.m. Saturday at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Sports on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: Gators bite again: Hogs’ offense goes dry in home loss

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