Streaky Gators Look to Build Momentum vs. Arkansas and Kentucky; “Welcome to Gatorhood” Event on Saturday

By on February 2, 2016. Posted in , , , , , .

A thrilling home blowout of then ninth-ranked West Virginia last Saturday has the Florida Gators riding high as they look to build momentum for the last month of the regular season.  The Gators now host Arkansas for a Wednesday evening (7:00 p.m., SEC Network) contest at the O’Connell Center before traveling to the Blue Grass State to take on rival Kentucky on Saturday afternoon (4:00 p.m., CBS).

The Baltimore Gator Club will host a special “Welcome to Gatorhood” watch party event for the rivalry game versus the Wildcats on Saturday.  The event will be held at Wiley Gunter’s, so come on down and meet some other local Gators and watch the big game.

Wiley Gunter’s
823 E. Fort Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21230

GAME PREVIEW:
Florida (14-7, 5-3 SEC) scored a big resume win on Saturday, knocking off West Virginia, 88-71, in front of a frenzied O’Dome crowd.  The victory was the Gators’ fourth in their last five games and provides the squad a boost in knocking off a top-ten team heading into the final stanza of the regular season.  Senior Dorian Finney-Smith sparked Florida’s offense, pouring in 24 points, 15 of which came from behind the arc.  A total of nine Gators scored in the rout as the Orange and Blue also locked down on the defensive end, forcing 18 Mountaineer turnovers.

Finney-Smith leads the Gators in scoring this season, scoring 14.8 points per game (ppg) while also hauling in 8.1 rebounds per contest.  He has not been alone, however, as freshman KeVaughn Allen (11.9 ppg) and John Egbunu (10.6 ppg) are also averaging double figures.  Egbunu, a sophomore transfer from South Florida has established himself down low for UF, pulling down 6.4 rebounds per game.

Arkansas (11-10, 4-4 SEC) has won two straight after dropping three in a row previously.  The Razorbacks knocked off Texas Tech at home over the weekend, 75-68, after giving Texas A&M its first conference loss last Wednesday in Fayetteville.  The Hogs are paced on the offensive end by Dusty Hannahs who ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.0 ppg.  Arkansas also has the best assist man in the league as Jabril Durham is handing out 7.0 assists per contest, which is also the sixth-best mark in the country.

Kentucky (16-5, 6-2 SEC) dropped its marquee matchup with Kansas on Saturday, but continues to lead the SEC after winning its last three league games.  The 20th-ranked Wildcats have the fifth-leading scorer in the conference in Jamal Murray while Tyler Ulis is averaging 16.1 ppg and is also dishing out 6.2 assists per game.

A year ago, the Gators edged Arkansas by just a point, 57-56, in Gainesville to improve to 17-11 all-time against the Razorbacks.  Kentucky, meanwhile, beat Florida three times during the 2014-15 season, including a 64-49 victory in the SEC Tournament.  Overall, the Wildcats own a 97-37 advantage in the all-time series between the schools.

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