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Razorbacks shock No. 5 Florida in OT

Arkansas' Jannero Pargo scores 35, including the winner, and the Gators lose their second in a row 94-92.

©Associated Press
January 27, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Like a football coach who lost the coin toss, Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson went with his defense first and kept his offense on the bench.

Jannero Pargo sat while Charles Tatum and teammates set a frantic pace with three steals in the first 89 seconds. Pargo entered after four minutes and scored a career-high 35, including a 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime, as Arkansas beat No. 5 Florida 94-92 on Saturday.

"I didn't start him because I wanted to get defense started early and let him score off the bench, and he did," Richardson said.

"He made some big-time plays down the stretch," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "His shot ... to tie the game reminded me of (Brett) Nelson's shot against Tennessee. Now I've been on both ends and I know what it feels like."

When Orien Greene's 3 clanged off the rim at the buzzer to give the Gators their second straight loss, students poured onto the court, celebrating in the middle of the giant red-and-white Razorback hog.

"After I saw that last shot, I thought we'd gotten beat," Richardson said. "He had a great look and the ball was on line."

Pargo, 14-for-45 from long range over his past six games, was 7-for-8 from behind the arc against the Gators. During his slump, Arkansas had lost four straight.

"He hit every big shot for us today," Arkansas guard Brandon Dean said. "It is not that he was playing bad. He was just taking bad shots."

Arkansas went in front for the first time since early in the game when Michael Jones got loose on the baseline for a 78-77 lead with 1:27 to play. Udonis Haslem, who missed two free throws with the Gators in front 76-74, made four straight to put Florida up 81-78 before Pargo was good from 22 feet with 25 seconds to play.

Fifteen seconds later, Florida's Justin Hamilton -- back in action for the first time in almost two weeks because of an injury -- missed two free throws. Determined not to let Pargo beat them, the Gators forced Arkansas to look elsewhere and Dionisio Gomez threw up something that didn't have much chance as time ran out.

In overtime, Pargo's seventh 3 gave Arkansas an 86-85 lead. After a pass from Pargo, Carl Baker scored from 15 feet. Haslem fouled out when J.J. Sullinger backed in against the smaller Nelson, and Sullinger completed the three-point play to make it 91-87. Hamilton stole the ball from Dean and made two free throws to bring the Gators within 91-90 with 51 seconds to play.

Sullinger was fouled and made one of his two free throws with 23 seconds left. But Hamilton went the length of the court to tie it at 92 with 16 seconds to play. Pargo got around Hamilton for the winner with 2.7 left.

"He knocked down some crazy shots but you have to respect his shooting," Hamilton said.

Florida led 42-40 at halftime, mostly on the shooting of Nelson, who scored 15 of his 23 in the first 20 minutes.

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