By LARRY VAUGHT
Florida guard KeVaughn Allen had 17 points in four games going into the Gators’ game against Arkansas Wednesday. However, he broke out of that scoring slump in a big way to get ready for Saturday night’s game at Kentucky.
Allen had 20 points — in the first half — and finished with a season-high 28 in the 88-73 win that put Florida on top of the Southeastern Conference standings.
His played helped Florida not only shoot 43 percent overall, but also go 13 of 25 from 3-point range. Allen was 6-for-9 in the first half, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
“I thought he made some hard shots,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought his teammates made some hard shots.”
Allen and guard Jalen Hudson combined to make 14 of 24 shots, including 10 of 15 from 3-point range. That’s why Florida coach Mike White had been encouraging Allen to keep shooting to get out of his slump.
“He was great, wasn’t he? Wow did he play a great game,” White said. “I’m happy for his teammates, because he needed it and we needed it.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari knows that feeling. His team blew a 14-point lead at South Carolina in the final 11 minutes to lose Tuesday. The big problem in that span was the lack of a consistent offensive flow, something that the possible return of point guard Quade Green could help. He’s missed the last three games with a back injury and Calipari indicated on his radio show Wednesday that Green might be ready to play against Florida.
The Gators, like Kentucky, have had some defensive deficiencies this season and Green’s return could help UK exploit Florida’s problems stopping straight-line drives and also give the Cats a needed 3-point shooter.