NASHVILLE — Dusty Hannahs poured in a career-high 33 points in Arkansas’ SEC tournament opener, but his teammates’ combined 10-for-38 shooting doomed the Razorbacks against Florida.
The Gators escaped Bridgestone Arena with a 68-61 win, and will move on to play No. 1 seed Texas A&M on Friday (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network).
A goaltended layup attempt by Hannahs cut Florida’s lead to 60-59 with a little more than a minute to play, but Hill responded with a reverse layup to restore the Gators’ three-point advantage. Florida outscored Arkansas 8-2 in the final minute to secure its victory.
“We thought we were about to make a big run,” Hannahs said. “This just hurts to come back to Earth.”
Hannahs’ previous career-high was 26 points scored against Mississippi State this January. Thursday, he had nine at the break before exploding for 24 in the second half alone.
“Dusty, he carried us the whole game,” teammate Anthlon Bell said. “They didn’t have an answer for him.”
The Little Rock native previous played at Texas Tech from 2012-2014, during which time he became one of the Big 12’s best 3-point specialists. Thursday’s performance was a more balanced effort, however. Hannahs — a redshirt junior — went just 2-for-8 from beyond the arc and earned 10 of his baskets inside the perimeter.
Arkansas (16-16) is not expected to receive an NCAA Tournament invite. Florida (19-13) moves on to play the top-seeded Aggies.
“It’s just bitter. There’s no real bittersweet about it,” Hannahs said. “No one in the locker room on our team is smiling. There’s nothing sweet about it.”