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Florida makes a statement with a 30-point win at Arkansas


Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., is one of the toughest places in the country to play.

You want proof?

The Razorbacks have yet to win a game this season away from BWA. They are 0-9 to be exact, and some of those losses -- by 22 at Georgia, by 19 at Tennessee, at Houston -- are far from what you would call moral victories.

But heading into Saturday afternoon’s game against No. 14 Florida, Arkansas had yet to lose at home, and that includes wins over Michigan, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Its enough that Arkansas has had to have their name get put into bubble consideration this year despite having a new head coach and a roster that includes a number of freshmen while playing without Marshon Powell.

So, yeah, you don’t win at Arkansas.

Unless you’re Florida, apparently. The Gators went into Arkansas and absolutely embarrassed the Razorbacks on Saturday with a 98-68 win. Frankly, that is one of the most shocking results of the season. Florida is not a good road team. They lost at Rutgers. They lost at Tennessee. They got smoked at Kentucky. and they came into this game beat up, as Will Yeguete and Patric Young are battling injuries while Mike Rosario didn’t even suit up.

And if BJ Young wasn’t on fire (he finished with 31 points on 10-19 shooting, the rest of his team had 37 points on 11-38 shooting), the final score would have been even uglier.

Yet Florida made sure that Arkansas never got into this game, jumping out to a 27-11 lead and never looking back. Erving Walker was the catalyst, finishing with 31 points on 9-12 shooting from the field, hitting 5-6 from three, and adding five assists without a turnover. As much criticism as Walker has gotten throughout his career, on the nights when he gets it going, he is a terror to try and defend.

He wasn’t alone, either. Florida got 90 of their 98 points from four players. In addition to the 31 that Walker had, Kenny Boynton went for 25 points, Brad Beal had 21 points and nine boards and Erik Murphy dropped in 13. Those four went 13-23 from three.

It sounds weird saying this because we are talking about Arkansas, but this was a statement that Florida needed to make. Trusting them is still going to be a difficult thing to do when they take the court against someone more talented that the Razorbacks, but this performance is always going to be in the back of my mind.

When they get hot, they are a scary team to play.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.