GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida swingman Canyon Barry got a glimpse of how close he is to being fully recovered from a sprained right ankle Wednesday night. Barry blocked Dustin Thomas' shot near the basket with about 4 minutes to play. It was just his 10th of the season and first in nearly a month.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida swingman Canyon Barry got a glimpse of how close he is to being fully recovered from a sprained right ankle Wednesday night.
Barry blocked Dustin Thomas' shot near the basket with about 4 minutes to play. It was just his 10th of the season and first in nearly a month.
"First time I felt like jumping hasn't really hurt me," Barry said. "Starting to get my explosion back."
Just in time to help the Gators in the postseason.
Barry scored 14 points on Senior Night, his best game since injuring his ankle two weeks ago, and No. 12 Florida handled Arkansas 78-65 on Wednesday night.
Kasey Hill, KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza added 12 points apiece for the Gators, who bounced back from their first loss in 10 games and clinched the No. 2 seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament next week.
Florida (24-6, 14-3) controlled the game much of the night, building a double-digit lead early, extending it to as many as 16 in the first half and then holding on after the break.
Arkansas (22-8, 11-6) made it close midway through the second half, cutting the lead to 51-45 on Trey Thompson's straightaway jumper. But the Gators responded with clutch shot after clutch shot to make it a 14-point game again. Barry hit a driving layup out of a timeout, Devin Robinson followed with a 3-pointer from the wing and then Keith Stone completed a three-point play.
Stone finished with eight points, his best performance since mid-January. Florida had another comeback outing from Gorjok Gak, who missed the previous seven games because of a sprained foot. He had two points and two rebounds in 8 minutes.
But Barry was the story after scoring just 10 points in the last three games.
"He was much more athletic tonight than he was two weeks ago," coach Mike White said.
Arkansas: Despite the loss, the Hogs still seem to be in decent shape for making the NCAA Tournament. "I think we put ourselves in pretty good position," coach Mike Anderson said. With a victory in the regular-season finale. Arkansas would lock up a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.
Florida: The Gators need Hill, Barry and Stone to continue to play like they did against Arkansas. Hill and Barry make the offense go, and Stone provides a defensive presence in the middle and another 3-point threat on the other end.
With a win Saturday at Vanderbilt, the Gators could break into the top 10 in the AP poll for the first time in White's two seasons.
Jaylen Barford led the Razorbacks with 18 points. Moses Kingsley added 17 points and nine rebounds. Arkansas had won five straight and 10 of 13.
The Razorbacks' biggest issue is a lack of defense. They allowed Florida to shoot 57 percent in the first half and build a huge lead.
Barry, Hill, forward Justin Leon and center Schuyler Rimmer — all seniors playing their final home game — were honored before the game and again with 39.9 seconds remaining. White called time out and told them to "take a curtain call" by waving to fans.
"Those guys are deserving," White said. "They've been a huge part of creating a winning culture here."
Arkansas: The Razorbacks end the regular season Saturday against Georgia at Bud Walton Arena, where they have won five of their last six.
Florida: The Gators wrap up the regular season at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Florida has lost three of its last four against the Commodores, including a home loss in January that helped better focus White's team and sparked a nine-game winning streak.
Follow Mark Long on Twitter @APMarkLong