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Looking for 18

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Looking for 18

The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team is looking for its 18th consecutive win at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18, and its fourth against a ranked opponent, when it takes on the No. 14/12 Florida Gators at 5 p.m. Arkansas (17-9, 5-6 SEC) is a different team inside Bud Walton Arena and has won a school record 17 games at home this season. Now the Razorbacks have their sights set on an undefeated home season, a task they have not accomplished in 14 years since the 1997-98 campaign. Arkansas’ last game at Bud Walton Arena saw it score 76 points in a 19-point win over South Carolina and the time before that was an 82-point outburst against No. 25 Vanderbilt. Consistent in both games and throughout the season at home has been defense and solid shooting. The Razorback defense steps up a notch with the home crowd behind it and is holding opponents to just 62.3 points per game while the Hogs shoot at a 46 percent clip and average more than 77 points. Florida (20-6, 8-3 SEC) is perhaps the best team to enter Bud Walton Arena this season and certainly has the best record. The Gators have fi ve players who average double digits, led by junior guard Kenny Boynton who averages 17.2 per game. Freshman Bradley Beal, a St. Louis, Mo., native and high school rival of Arkansas’ BJ Young, is Florida’s No. 2 scorer at 14.3 points and an impressive 6.2 rebounds. While Florida’s guards get a majority of the headlines, the post presence of Patric Young and Erik Murphy should not be overlooked as they provide size and strength in the middle. Florida has dominated the series between the two schools of late, winning seven of the last eight meetings, but just one of those Florida wins was at Bud Walton Arena (2009-10) and the Razorbacks are 7-3 at home against Florida over the years. Saturday’s game has sold out of general public tickets, the second time this year Arkansas has been sold out of those tickets and Saturday’s game could exceed Arkansas’ single-game attendance high of the year which was 19,050 against Michigan on Jan. 21. The Arkansas-Florida game will be broadcast on the radio across the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer giving the call. The game will also be shown on television by ESPN2 with Brad Nessler and Arkansas’ own Jimmy Dykes on the air.



Sports Category : Basketball (M)