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Scottie Wilbekin scored 18 points off the bench as the Gators snapped Arkansas' home win streak.

Saturday January 11, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 84, Arkansas 82 (overtime) -- Instant Analysis

Scottie Wilbekin scored 18 points off the bench as the Gators snapped Arkansas' home win streak.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

AT THE BUZZER -
FLORIDA 84, ARKANSAS 82 (overtime)

WHAT HAPPENED: Scottie Wilbekin hit a 16-foot bank shot with two seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and the 10th-ranked Florida Gators raced past the stunned Arkansas Razorbacks and a home crowd at Bud Walton Arena for a monumental Southeastern Conference road victory and sixth straight win. Wilbekin did not start the game, held out after missing practice Friday with a sore ankle, but came off the bench to score 18 points, including nine in overtime to help ice the victory. Sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith, who started at center for Pat Young, was spectacular and kept the Gators in the game, finishing with UF career highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators not only improved to 2-0 in SEC play, but picked up a win in one of the nation’s most hostile venues. Arkansas had won 25 straight games at home (including two at Little Rock), a mark that was tied (with Duke) for the second-longest in the nation coming into the game. The game also was UF’s sixth win in eight single-digit games this season. Florida was 0-6 in such games last season.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Finney-Smith has been criticized by the UF coaches for his motor, but he was purring most of afternoon. The Virginia Tech transfer went 7-for-14 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, including a big trey in overtime.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: Arkansas barely won the rebounding edge, 45-44, but the Hogs crushed the Gators on the offensive end 20-14 and scored 23 points off those second-chance opportunities.

SUBPLOT: Oh, almost forgot. The Gators were without their leading scorer, senior forward Casey Prather, due to a bone bruise on his right knee. Prather’s status is day to day, but his teammates collectively picking him up was a huge shot in the arm for this team.

UP NEXT: The Gators (13-2, 2-0) return home for a Tuesday night ESPN game against Georgia (7-6, 1-0, heading into a 4 p.m. game vs. Alabama), which already went on the road and upset 21st-ranked Missouri, halting the nation’s second-longest home winning streak at 26 games. Anyone remember “Mohawk Night” last year in honor of Will Yeguete’s “do?” Well, Tuesday will be “Beard Night,” a shout-out to Patric Young, with the first 1,000 students -- are you listening Rowdy Reptiles? -- getting faux beards to wear during the game.

 

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