FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)—Ronnie Brewer came up big at both ends of the court in Arkansas’ biggest win of the season.
The junior guard scored seven of his 24 points in overtime and knocked away a pass as Florida tried to tie the game on its final possession, and the Razorbacks beat No. 10 Florida 85-81 Saturday.
Brewer’s 3-pointer with 54 seconds to play in overtime gave Arkansas (17-8, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) an 83-79 lead. His free throw with 19-7 seconds left made it 84-81 and he sealed with another free throw after deflecting the pass as the Gators (22-4, 8-4) worked the ball around.
“We kept on fighting, we didn’t give up and the ball just happened to bounce our way at the end of the game,” Brewer said.
The win was the first against a Top Ten opponent for Arkansas since Stan Heath took over the program in 2002.
“I’m just really proud of our team for not breaking” under the Florida pressure, Heath said. “We may have bent a little bit, but we held strong. That’s an outstanding Florida team and it was a great game.”
After the Razorbacks built a lead to as many as seven points, Florida closed the first half with an 8-1 run, tying the game at 31. The second half saw 12 lead changes and neither led by more than six points.
“The second half was a back-and-forth basketball game,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “Give Arkansas credit. They made some plays and their kids played hard and I thought it was a great college basketball game that both teams had a chance to win at times.”
Jonathon Modica scored 22 points for Arkansas.
Taurean Green had 20 points for the Gators, who are 5-4 since starting the season 17-0.
Florida took a 77-75 lead in the overtime on baskets by Al Horford, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Corey Brewer.
But Modica, who scored Arkansas’ first basket in the overtime, made a free throw and Eric Ferguson scored over Lee Humphrey for a 78-77 lead with 2:15 to play.
Florida retook the lead 79-78 on a putback by Corey Brewer, who had 11 points.
Ronnie Brewer was then fouled by Joakim Noah, who fouled out with 16 points, and made both free throws for an 80-79 lead.
After a Florida miss, Brewer made his 3 for an 83-79 lead. Humphrey missed on the other end and Modica angered his coaches when he went quickly took a shot instead of working down the shot clock.
Horford scored to make it 83-81 with 30 seconds to play.
Florida took a 73-72 lead with 2:25 left in regulation. Both teams went cold from there and Arkansas’ Charles Townes tied it at 73 with a free throw with 20 seconds left.
Florida never even got a final shot off in regulation because Modica popped the ball out of Green’s hand as the clock wound down.