Hot-shooting Arkansas cools off FloridaFeb 3, 2008 - 1:07 AM FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (Ticker) -- A week after routing Vanderbilt, Florida was on the receiving end of a sound beating.
Sonny Weems scored 17 points Saturday as Arkansas drubbed the 19th-ranked Gators, 80-61, in a Southeastern Conference contest.
Florida moved into the top 25 for the first time this season following Sunday's 86-64 victory over Vanderbilt but the defending two-time national champions may drop out again after Saturday's listless performance.
It was an especially satisfying win for first-year Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, who beat his mentor, Billy Donovan, for the first time. Pelphrey served as an assistant under Donovan for eight years at Marshall and Florida.
"We certainly feel very fortunate that we won this game," Pelphrey said. "I have tremendous respect for coach Billy Donovan and the Florida team.
"They are a really good basketball team and the highest scoring team in the league. For our guys to hold them to 64 points makes me really proud of them. We are playing as a team and I am very happy about it."
Arkansas (16-5, 5-2 SEC West) snapped Florida's three-game winning streak, holding the Gators to 33 percent (22-of-66) shooting, including just under 30 percent in the first half.
The Razorbacks posted their second straight impressive win over a ranked opponent, defeating No. 25 Mississippi State, 78-58, on Wednesday.
"We're just going out there and just playing, and we want to send a message out that we can win games," said Arkansas forward Darian Townes, who scored 14 points - all in the second half. "We're just coming out here to fight."
Against Florida (18-4, 5-2 East), Arkansas took control with an 15-0 run after the Gators tied the contest, 8-8, and never looked back. The Razorbacks led by as many as 30 in the second half.
"The Arkansas kids played great tonight," Donovan said. "One of my concerns coming into this game was that they were going to be bigger, faster, stronger and older, and that was the case. But I really thought the difference was their size in and around the basket."
Gary Ervin contributed 15 points for the Razorbacks, who shot 54 percent (32-of-59).
"We're actually playing Razorback basketball now," Ervin said "It's tough on defense. In these last two home games we came out with an effort on defense."
Walter Hodge scored 13 points for Florida, while Marreese Speights and freshman Nick Calathes added 12 apiece.
The Gators missed their first 13 3-point shots and finished 4-of-25 (16 percent) from the arc.
Florida suffered its worst defeat since an 82-62 loss to Kentucky in 2004.
"Arkansas has great athletes," Hodge said. "As a team, you go through off nights, and you have to stay focused and play defense - that was the difference.
"They have two seven-footers inside, so it was tough to get shots inside. We got good looks and didn't make them."
- Virginia Tech guard Jalen Hudson transfers to Florida May 16
- Kingsley withdraws name from NBA draft, returns to Arkansas May 9
- Florida guard Francis-Ramirez transferring after 2 seasons May 4
- Florida's Devin Robinson out 4-6 months after foot surgery Apr 21
- Arkansas' Kingsley enters NBA draft, won't hire agent Apr 12
- Whitt transferring from Arkansas after freshman season Mar 30
- Florida guard Walker plans to transfer after graduation Mar 28
- Anderson has NCAA tourney in sights next season for Arkansas Mar 22
- Florida's Egbunu to have season-ending thumb surgery Mar 15
- Florida's Egbunu uncertain to play against UNF in NIT Mar 14
- Florida C Egbunu tears thumb ligament before SEC Tournament Mar 9
- Florida trying to rebuild NCAA resume at SEC Tournament Mar 7