BJ Young led three players in double figures with 13 points as the Razorbacks opened quickly and never let up in a shocking 80-69 victory over No. 2 Florida on Tuesday night.
The win improves the Razorbacks (14-8, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) to 14-1 at home this season, and it snaps a 10-game winning streak for the Gators — who had ascended to the No. 2 spot in The AP Top 25 one day earlier.
Arkansas opened the game 15 of 20 from the field. Michael Qualls and Marshawn Powell added 11 points each and all 11 players scored for the Razorbacks in their first win over a top 10 team since early in 2008-09.
Mike Rosario led Florida (18-3, 8-1) with 15 points, while Scottie Wilbekin had 14.
After trailing by as many as 23 points in the first half, the Gators cut the lead to 43-26 at halftime.
The Razorbacks didn’t give Florida a chance to come up for air to open the second half, forcing turnovers on two straight possessions to open the second half and extending the lead 49-26 following a jumper by Qualls.
Florida had one final run in it — responding with an 11-2 stretch to cut the deficit to 51-37 after an inside basket by Michael Frazier.
The Gators did close the lead to 11 points, but by then it was too late against an Arkansas team in desperate need of a signature win, one that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2008. The Razorbacks were then coached by current Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey, who entered Bud Walton Arena to handshakes and hugs Tuesday night before walking off the court with a stunning loss in his second return to his former home.
The win was Arkansas’ first over a team ranked in the top 10 since victories over No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 7 Texas early in 2008-09, Pelphrey’s second season.
Anderson took over last season, and his previous best win was over then-No. 15 Mississippi State.
Hunter Mickelson responded to Florida’s second-half run with a putback for the Razorbacks, beginning a 16-3 run that opened the lead to 67-40 and put the game well out of reach. Coty Clarke closed out the run in emphatic fashion for Arkansas, flying high on the fast break to put down a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Ky Madden.
Arkansas, whose only home loss this season was to No. 9 Syracuse, owned the first half. The Razorbacks entered the game 12th in the SEC in 3-point shooting at 29.8 percent, but they opened the game 5 of 6 from behind the arc and built a 36-13 lead midway through the half.
Mardracus Wade and Young hit 3-pointers in the half for Arkansas, which easily sent Florida to its largest deficit of the season at 36-13. The most the Gators had trailed before Tuesday was 11 points in the first half of a loss against Kansas State, but they had no answer for an Arkansas team that opened the game 15 of 20 from the field.
Florida’s winning streak was the school’s longest since 2008-09. That included four straight SEC road games, and the Gators were attempting to win five straight conference games away from home for the first time in a season.
Kentucky 77, South Carolina 55
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Julius Mays’ 15 points led five Kentucky players in double figures, and the Wildcats blew out South Carolina 77-55 Tuesday night to move within a game of first-place Florida in the Southeastern Conference.
Kentucky (16-6, 7-2) began the night two games behind Florida before the No. 2 Gators suffered their first conference loss, 80-69 at Arkansas, earlier in the evening.
The Wildcats followed with their fourth straight victory and perhaps most complete in conference play as they shot 27 of 44 from the field and outrebounded the Gamecocks 42-25. Kentucky’s 61-percent shooting was its third-highest this season.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Archie Goodwin each added 13 points, Ryan Harrow had 12 and Nerlens Noel 10 along with 10 rebounds and five blocks.
Freshman forward Michael Carrera scored a game-high 18 points with six rebounds for South Carolina (12-10, 2-7), which lost its third in a row and fifth in the past six games.
The Gamecocks have found the going rough in the first half of their SEC schedule, with their only league victories coming against LSU and Arkansas. They entered Tuesday having lost four of their past five games, including Saturday’s defeat to Georgia.
Shooting and rebounding have been the obvious culprits for South Carolina in those recent losses. The Gamecocks haven’t shot above 37 percent and have been outrebounded by a 152-127 margin in the four defeats.
Those numbers toughened South Carolina’s mission at Rupp Arena, where it hasn’t won since 2009. Especially since Kentucky entered the game leading the SEC in defensive rebounds (27.6), second in field goal defense (39 percent) and third in rebounding margin (plus-3.5) in league play.
North Carolina 87,
Wake Forest 62
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Reggie Bullock scored 23 points to help North Carolina beat Wake Forest 87-62 on Tuesday night.
James Michael McAdoo added 20 points for the Tar Heels (16-6, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won six of seven since an 0-2 league start. North Carolina put together a 24-5 run spanning halftime to blow the game open and take a 25-point lead on the way to an easy home win. The Tar Heels shot 52 percent and scored 26 points off turnovers to beat Wake Forest for the fourth straight time.
North Carolina led by 20 points at halftime and by 34 points after the break.
No. 8 Miami 72, Boston College 50
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Kenny Kadji scored 10 points during a span of four possessions to start a second-half surge Tuesday night, and No. 8 Miami remained unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 72-50 victory over Boston College.
Reserve junior Rion Brown tied a career high with 22 points, and Kadji had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Hurricanes, who went 11 for 22 from 3-point range. They held an ACC opponent to 50 points or less for the fourth time.
The Hurricanes (18-3, 9-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won 10 consecutive games and are 10-0 in their on-campus arena, winning each of the past three home games by at least 22 points.
Boston College (10-12, 2-7) lost to Miami for the second time in three weeks.