Walker leads No. 14 Florida past Arkansas 98-68

KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer Published:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Florida made itself right at home in Bud Walton Arena.

Erving Walker scored a career-high 31 points and the No. 14 Gators ended Arkansas' perfect home record with a 98-68 win.

Florida (21-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) shot a season-high 58.3 percent from the field, hitting a 13 of 23 3-pointers.

Walker, who was 2 of 18 from behind the arc over his last four games, hit his first four 3-point attempts. Florida led 53-27 at halftime after connecting on 9 of 14 3-pointers.

Kenny Boynton had 25 points and Bradley Beal added 21 for the Gators.

The loss ended a 17-0 start to the season in Fayetteville for the Razorbacks (17-10, 5-7), who were led by BJ Young's career-high 31 points. It was Arkansas' worst defeat in Bud Walton Arena since it opened in 1993.

The previous worst loss was a 73-51 defeat to Auburn in 2009. The Razorbacks were down by more than at halftime to Florida, which led 53-27 at the intermission.

That Arkansas team was led by former Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey.

Pelphrey was once again on hand Saturday, only this time as an assistant coach for the Gators after behind fired by Arkansas after last season. He entered the arena to a polite ovation from the Razorbacks crowd, which had few opportunities to cheer once the game started.

Pelphrey was fired after compiling a 69-59 record in four seasons at Arkansas. He said at the time that he wasn't given enough time to turn around a Razorbacks program that had missed the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons.

He was prophetic for much of the season for Arkansas, which had wins over three ranked teams at home on its resume. However, its only lead on Saturday came after Mardracus Wade's 3-pointer put the Razorbacks up 3-2.

The game was all about the Gators after that, particularly Walker in the early going. The senior scored 18 first-half points on 6 of 7 shooting, including 4 of 4 3-pointers.

His previous career high also came against Arkansas, a 27-point effort two years ago as a sophomore.

Walker scored 11-straight points at one point in the half. He opened the stretch with a drive to the basket and followed it with three-straight 3-pointers that helped Florida extend its lead to 30-13.

Florida was 21 of 31 (68 percent) from the field at one point early in the second half and hit 11 of its first 16 3-point attempts. The Gators, who lead the SEC in made 3-pointers, finished 28 of 48 from the field, topping a 56.3 percent performance in a win over LSU on Jan. 21.

Florida opened the season 0-4 on the road, including losses at Ohio State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Tennessee. The Gators improved to 4-5 on the road with the win and have now won four of their last five.

Arkansas was 21 of 57 (37 percent) from the field.