Without Castleton, Gators lose at Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - FEBRUARY 18: Ricky Council IV #1 of the Arkansas Razorbacks drives to the basket in the first half and is called for a charge against Riley Kugel #24 of the Florida Gators at Bud Walton Arena on February 18, 2023 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) (Wesley Hitt 501-258-0920 wesley@hittphotography.com, 2023 Getty Images)

PressFAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Reserve Jalen Graham scored a career-high 26 points and Arkansas beat Florida 85-64 on Saturday, overwhelming a Gators team playing without leading scorer and rebounder Colin Castleton.

Graham was 12-of-15 shooting, Ricky Council IV scored 15 points, Anthony Black added 14 and Makhi Mitchell collected his 10th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Razorbacks (18-9, 7-7 SEC), who snapped a two-game skid. Nick Smith Jr. scored 10 points.

Riley Kugel scored 17 points and Will Richard 10 for the Gators (14-13, 7-7), who were playing without Castleton for the first time since the 6-foot-11 post broke his hand in Wednesday’s win over Mississippi. Jason Jitoboh made his first start of the season in Castleton’s place and finished with four points and two rebounds in 24 minutes.

Mitchell scored six points during a 17-2 run to open the second half and Arkansas led by 21. The lead reached a high of 25.

Three-point plays by Smith began and ended a 14-2 run that put Arkansas in front by seven with four minutes left in the first half. The Razorbacks led 37-31 at halftime with Graham scoring 14.

Arkansas, the SEC field-goal percentage leader, finished at 58% and outrebounded Florida 40-25. The Gators were 4 of 21 from 3-point range.

Arkansas is host to Georgia on Tuesday. Florida is home versus Kentucky on Wednesday.

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