ST. LOUIS — Jaylen Barford didn’t know.
Now, he does.
He didn’t know that Florida has won eight straight games against Arkansas, including an 88-73 Gator win in Gainesville on Jan. 17.
“I didn’t know that. It would be great to break the losing streak,” said the Arkansas guard. “We have to peak at the right time.”
Barford scored 28 points in that game in January and last night pumped in a team-high 17 including five straight points late in the game, three on a high arcing 28-footer.
Arkansas is now 22-10 and a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but the Razorbacks could use a big win for their resume. They will also have a crowd advantage, dominating the noise in Thursday night’s win.
Of course, the Razorbacks had to expend energy in a game that looked out of hand only to see South Carolina pull within a point late.
“I’m sure (Florida) is looking forward to the game,” said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson. “They’re all rested up.”
Anderson played 10 players, nine of then going double-digit minutes, despite booting forward Dustin Thomas off the team this week. And Arkansas pressed the entire game, forcing 19 turnovers.
“They try to get up and down the floor just like we do,” said guard Daryl Macon, who had 12 points against South Carolina. “We have to get multiple stops.
“It would be awesome to stop that streak and we have a great chance of doing it.”
In Gainesville, KeVaughn Allen had the biggest game for the Gators. The Arkansas native scored 28 points as Florida hit 13 threes in the game. Allen and Jalen Hudson, who was then coming off the bench, hit 10-of-14 3-point shots.
“We’re two pretty evenly matched teams, but for some reason they have made more plays than us,” Anderson said. “We’ve had some games where we were right there.”