GAINESVILLE -- Michael Frazier II sank two clutch free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining, as Florida escaped with a 57-56 win over Arkansas on Saturday afternoon in the O’Connell Center.
Gators (12-9, 5-3 SEC) freshman guard Chris Chiozza missed a layup late, but Frazier corralled the offensive rebound and was questionably fouled by Arkansas (16-5, 5-3 SEC) guard Aldandise Harris.
Despite a second straight game without a 3-pointer, Florida's junior sharpshooter displayed poise overcoming another tough night (2-of-9 from the field, 0-for-5 from downtown) and a halftime benching.
Frazier drilled both freebies, and gave the Gators their second straight conference thrilling win this week.
“What has happened to these guys is that when it has not gone well for them they lose their competitive spirit and they don’t fight,” UF coach Billy Donovan said.
“They don’t scratch. They don’t claw. They get down, and there was a couple moments late where we were teetering a little bit and we were back to that mindset. But I thought they really battled as hard as they could.”
The Gators moved to 5-3 in the SEC. Their NCAA hopes remain faint, but a win over the Razorbacks did give UF its first top-25 RPI win on the year. The Gators are now 1-7 against the RPI top 50.
Florida plays at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.
BY THE NUMBERS
10.7 - seconds remaining when Anton Beard grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a baseline layup to put Razorbacks up one late.
34.6 — UF’s field goal percentage, its second worst in a win this season. Despite another late-game scoring lull, the Gators survived the Razorbacks’ 12-3 run late with some timely free throw shooting (17-of-25) by Frazier and Jacob Kurtz.
23 - Missed shots by Florida’s backcourt (Frazier, Kasey Hill and Eli Carter). The trio combined for just five made field goals and 13 points.
14 - NBA scouts, most (or all) of whom witnessed Razorbacks forward Bobby Portis dominate all afternoon. The 6-11 sophomore led all scorers with 21 points, adding 10 rebounds and two blocks.
4 - Dunks by Dorian Finney-Smith, who had two thunderous tomahawk slams that really energized both the crowd and team. Finned-Smith finished the afternoon with 16 points — UF’s lone scorer in double figures. The junior forward led the Gators in points, rebounds (9), assists (4) and turnovers (3).
15.8 percent - The combined 3-point shooting percentage (6-for-38) for SEC’s best two teams (statistically) downtown.
8-0 - Florida’s sprint to end the first half, taking some much-needed momentum and a two-point lead into the locker room.
“Credit to Florida, they hung in there and found a way to win. But I was disappointed with the officiating going down the stretch. A guy that I’ve seen before, John Hampton, made one of the more critical calls in the game. The last play, I was not satisfied with [the call].”
-- Arkansas coach Mike Anderson
“We just kept fighting. Things didn’t go our way every time. … Honestly, I knew [the free throws] were going in. Michael had a tough night shooting, but I told him earlier in the game he was going to make a game-winning play. He stayed in the game.”
-- UF forward Dorian Finney-Smith
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