Florida ends skid, beats Arkansas 66-50 in SEC Tournament

Big Tournament
201903141311474910413-p3_20190314201953977-159532

Florida forward Keyontae Johnson (11) shoots over Arkansas forward Reggie Chaney (35) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Keyontae Johnson scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds Thursday as No. 8 seed Florida snapped a three-game skid by defeating No. 9 seed Arkansas 66-50 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday.

Johnson, a freshman, recorded his second career-double. His 12 rebounds were one off his career high.

The Gators (18-14) advance to a Friday quarterfinal against No. 9 LSU (26-5), the No. 1 seed in this tournament. Florida won 82-77 at LSU on Feb. 20 but lost to the Tigers 79-78 at home on March 6, with both those games requiring overtime.

Arkansas failed to make a basket in the game’s final 7 minutes, 54 seconds.

Florida and Arkansas entered the tournament heading in opposite directions, though only the slumping Gators had a realistic shot at an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. At the start of the day, Florida was 33rd and Arkansas 63rd in the NET rankings, which have replaced the RPI as a criterion for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Arkansas (17-15) had followed up a six-game losing streak by winning its last three regular-season contests to go back above .500. Florida had won five straight in late February before ending the regular season with three consecutive losses.

Florida turned things around Thursday in part because leading scorer KeVaughn Allen broke out of his personal slump.

Allen had scored a total of 18 points in his last four regular-season games, but the graduate of North Little Rock (Arkansas) High School scored 17 points Thursday against his home-state school.

Florida was clinging to a 47-44 lead when Allen took a 3-point shot that bounced off the rim a few times before falling through with 7:26 remaining. That 3-point shot started a 17-4 run that helped Florida seal the victory.

Daniel Gafford scored 15 points and Isaiah Joe added 12 for Arkansas.

Arkansas had shot 29 of 56 from 3-point range during its three-game winning streak to end the regular season, but the Razorbacks were just 4 of 16 from beyond the arc Thursday.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: The Razorbacks were unable to do anything against Florida’s defense again. Arkansas’ 50 points Thursday represented a season low. The Razorbacks’ lowest point total during the regular season came in a 57-51 loss to Florida on Jan. 9.

Florida: The Gators likely needed to win this game to have any realistic hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament. The Gators seem in better shape to earn a bid now, but they could remove just about all doubt by knocking off LSU.

UP NEXT

Arkansas awaits a possible NIT invitation.

Florida faces LSU in an SEC quarterfinal Friday.

Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.