Barford's deep step-back 3-pointer with 3:30 left stalled South Carolina's momentum and gave the Razorbacks the late burst they needed. Turning up the defense, Arkansas would weather the storm and hold Florida scoreless for the final four minutes and 54 seconds of the first half. Barford's 3-pointer off the dribble pushed the lead to 52-39 with 11 minutes left, but SC wasn't quite ready to leave St. Louis and answered with an 8-0 run, paced by two 3s from Frank Booker.
Arkansas led 36-28 at halftime thanks to its performance at the free throw line, where it hit 14 of 15 in the half.
In a game in which SC rallied from a 15-point deficit, Arkansas' Daryl Macon and Anton Beard, Barford's fellow seniors in the backcourt, helped ice the victory with three free throws in the final minute.
The Hogs' fun was just beginning as the 16-2 run continued and the lead swelled to 62-48 with 5:55 left, forcing Florida to take a much-needed timeout. It wouldn't surprise anyone if the Hogs win the SEC Tournament and make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss AthleticsThe Ole Miss Rebels basketball teams 2018 season came to a heartbreaking 85-84 close to South Carolina Wednesday night in the SEC Tournament.
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That started an 8-0 run which climaxed on a Stone layup with 12:49 left in the half, giving Florida an 18-10 lead.
Next up, the Razorbacks will face 2nd seed Tennessee in the semifinals at 2pm on ESPN. Florida ended the contest with two transition points, which is their lowest total of the year. One of Florida's largest strengths was their ability to convert at the free throw line.
After trading blows the first three and-a-half minutes of the second half, Arkansas went up 5 points.
South Carolina's Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar each finished with 15 points.
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Arkansas' starting guard trio of Beard, Macon and Barford played 37, 30 and 29 minutes respectively with Gafford and Bailey playing 25 and 24 minutes.
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville needed a live-or-die defensive effort to take out the No. 3 seed Florida Gators on Friday in the SEC Tournament.
The Hogs (9-3) will play a doubleheader against the Golden Flashes (6-3) at 3 p.m. Friday with 30 minutes between games. The games can be streamed on the SEC Network Plus or the WatchESPN app.
Arkansas: The last time the Razorbacks won a game against Florida was on February 5, 2013, in Fayetteville. The Lonoke native led all Razorbacks hitters with.444 average in the two series, and Martin is hitting.414 on the season with a.793 slugging percentage.
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Tennessee (24-7) received 15 points from Lamonte Turner, 13 points from Admiral Schofield and 10 points from Grant Williams. Despite the uncertainty about their teammate, the Bulldogs did not let the Vols take control of the game at any time.