GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Arkansas had one of its best efforts of the year and Jonathon Modica had his best game of the season, but it wasn’t enough against No. 4 Florida as the Gators knocked off the Razorbacks, 77-66, Saturday in Southeastern Conference play.
The loss dropped Arkansas to 6-11 overall and 1-5 in the league while Florida improved to 18-2 and 7-0.
Florida led 5-0 just more than a minute into the game, but Modica hit two three pointers and made all three free throws after getting fouled on a third attempt to tie the game at 9-9. A 12-footer by Dionisio Gomez gave Arkansas the lead, but Florida scored six straight for a 20-15 advantage.
The Razorbacks answered with a 7-0 run and took a 22-20 lead on Michael Jones’ three at the 8:37 mark. The teams traded baskets before turnovers led to dunks by Matt Walsh and David Lee, and Anthony Roberson’s three helped the Gators take a 39-32 lead at the half.
In the second period, UF jumped out to a 10-point lead, but a jumper by Jones and a layup by Larry Satchell, who had a season-high nine points along with a season-high matching seven rebounds, helped the Hogs get within 42-37 with 16:30 to play.
A three by Kendrick Davis cut another 10-point deficit to 51-44 with 12:32 remaining, but Florida went on a 17-7 run over the next four minutes to push the margin to 68-51. Roberson had eight of his team-high 16 points during the run.
Eric Ferguson made a three and Carl Baker converted a layup before Satchell scored three straight points and Modica hit a pair of free throws to get UA within 70-61 with 3:08 to go.
Brett Nelson responded with two free throws and a three-pointer to push the lead to 75-62 with two minutes left.
Modica finished with a season-high 26 points on seven of 12 shooting, including five of six three-pointers. He was also seven of nine on free throws and added five rebounds. Gomez added nine points, and Jones and Ferguson had seven each.
Matt Bonner and David Lee had 13 each for Florida, which hit four of nine threes and 10 of 12 free throws in the second half to maintain its lead.
UA shot 52.2 percent in the first half but cooled off to 39.3 in the second, finishing with a percentage of .451 for the game. Arkansas out-rebounded the Gators, 33-30, had its fourth-fewest turnovers of the year, 14, and made a season-high matching nine threes.
The Razorbacks play host to Alabama Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.