Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/18/12
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Kenny Boynton could only shake his head. "It was just one of those nights, man," the junior guard said after an across-the-board performance that defied explanation. "I don't know any other way to put it. Just one of those nights." That, in fact, may be the best summation for how the 14th-ranked Gators eviscerated the Arkansas Razorbacks 98-68 Saturday night, handing the Hogs -- unbeaten here in 17 games this season -- their worst home loss since famed Bud Walton Arena opened its doors in 1993 and doing it before the first Southeastern Conference sellout in three years, no less. UF's backcourt combined for 77 points, with senior point guard Erving Walker pouring in a career-high 31 and five assists, Boynton 25 more and freshman Bradley Beal carding 21 points and nine rebounds. As gaudy as those numbers are, however, they were dwarfed by the deadly precision with which the Gators (21-6, 9-3) shot the basketball. From everywhere. "We knew sooner or later is was going to happen," said Walker, who was 9-for-12 from the floor, 5-for-6 from the 3-point line and 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. "We just didn't know when." UF came in having shot just 38.6 percent over the previous five games and less than 30 percent from long-distance over the last three. Against the Razorbacks, the Gators basically put the game away in a 53-point first half when they led by as many as 28 on the way to hitting a torrid 61.5 percent from the floor and 64.3 percent from the arc. Those numbers dipped in the second half, but Florida still finished 58.3 for the game, 13-for-23 from 3-point range and 85.3 percent from the free-throw, which they visited 34 times. "Talk about tough days at the office," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said after his team eclipsed the previous most-lopsided loss in Bud Walton history, a 22-point defeat to Auburn in 2009. "That's how you win on the road. Make shots." Question: Remember when Florida was a terrible road team? Well since losing the first four away games of the season (including defeats at top-five powers Syracuse and Ohio State), the Gators have won four of the last five on the road, including two straight following Tuesday night's victory at Alabama with the lone loss in that stretch coming at No 1 Kentucky. Adding to the post-game euphoria was a win for UF assistant coach John Pelphrey, who spent the previous four seasons as Arkansas coach before being relieved of his duties last spring. Pelphrey declined comment afterward, but his players spoke on his behalf. "It was important to win this one for Coach Pel," Boynton said. "It was important to win, period." When the domination -- and it was thorough -- was over, UF had just its third win of 30 or more points at an SEC venue since league play began in 1932. "Obviously, it was a perfect storm in a lot of ways," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "We got to the free-throw line, we shot the ball very, very well and our backcourt was really good." The frontcourt wasn't bad, either. Forward Erik Murphy had 13 points, making three of his five 3-point shots, despite playing in foul trouble. Center Patric Young played just 16 minutes due to foul woes, but Will Yeguete, back after suffering a concussion early in last weekend's home loss to Tennessee, came off the bench to grab a game-high 11 rebounds. "We always practice hard, but when we practice good, we get great results," Boynton said. "And we had two great days of practice before we played Arkansas." This had the look of a scrimmage fairly quickly. Florida got out to a double-digit lead, at 19-8, in just over eight minutes, then went a six-minute stretch when the only field goals the Gators made (seven of them) were 3-pointers; four by Walker, two by Murphy and one by Beal to push the visitors out in front by 16. Lost in the middle of that long-distance spree was a five-point run by Arkansas that actually got the home crowd of 18,913 excited -- until three of those UF 3-pointers and a couple free throws from Walker made the score 44-21 with just over five minutes to go before intermission. "I think we were patient as a team, inside and out," Walker said. "Guys were just on today. Everybody was making their shots." The lead was 53-27 at halftime, with the Gators going 9-for-14 from the arc. "We did a pretty good job of finding each other in transition," Beal said. "We found splits in their defense, and we could drive the ball and kick it and to guys who would be wide open -- and we knocked em down." It was more of the same in the second half. The Hogs scored the first three points of the period -- again, giving the crowd something to cheer about -- and cut the margin to 22, but Boynton and Beal hit back-to-back bombs and the lead was 28 again, and the Razorbacks never got any closer than 23 after that, with fans heading to the exits midway through the second half. "Billy has a dynamic team," Anderson said. "One of the best shooting teams in the country." But this good? They were Saturday. "I'm not sure our team is 30 points better than anybody in this league," Donovan said. "It was just one of those games where we shot the ball well and things went well for us." While Boynton leaned on a Walton wall with a big smile on his face, Walker stood across the way, just shaking his head at yet another question about those shots falling. "I don't know what else you can say other than it was our night," said Walker, who scored a previous career-high 27 the last time he played here two years ago. "Everyone played and shot the ball great. And we defended. This is a game you just can't draw up very often." One to remember.
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