STARKVILLE, Miss. – A spirited rally fell short Saturday afternoon as the Mississippi State men’s basketball team dropped a 73-69 decision to Arkansas at Humphrey Coliseum.
Arkansas notched the rare victory in Starkville to improve to 18-9 overall and 7-7 in league play. MSU fell to 13-14 and 3-11. The Bulldogs have now lost nine straight. The Razorbacks won at MSU for the first time since 2000.
“Disappointed about the loss,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “I thought we did some good things on the court. I thought we attacked the press well. Give (Arkansas coach) Mike Anderson some credit, because when they went to the 2-2-1, the momentum changed, because we weren’t getting the attack.”
After the Bulldogs scored the initial game of the basket, the Razorbacks quickly sprinted to a 14-8 lead. The Bulldogs followed with seven straight points and grabbed a 15-14 lead on a Gavin Ware tip-in.
The early play foreshadowed a strong offensive half for both teams.
Arkansas ran the lead back out to 23-17 on a layup from Alandise Harris with 10:49 left in the half. The Razorbacks continued their early 3-point barrage and extended the advantage to 32-21 on a trey by Anthlon Bell with 7:48 left in the half.
Still down 10, the Bulldogs ended the half with a 7-1 run to trail 39-35 at the intermission.
The Bulldogs remained competitive in the game’s final half but never grabbed a lead.
MSU closed within 39-38 after Roquez Johnson split a pair of free throws. The Razorbacks turned the Bulldogs over twice and scored seven straight points to build a 46-39 lead.
Arkansas extended the lead to a game-best at 15 points at 71-56 with 6:45 left in the contest. A 3-pointer by Colin Borchert brought the Bulldogs within 71-65 with 4:12 left in the contest. The Bulldogs closed within four at 73-69 but were unable to get another shot to fall.
“We didn’t shoot free throws well,” Ray said. “More importantly, we missed the front end of one-plus-ones. We got to the line as much as we wanted to. However, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. We had to guard the 3-point line better in the second half and we did that.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 26 of 59 shots from the field (44.1 percent), 7 of 14 shots from 3-point range (50.0 percent) and 10 of 21 shots from the foul line (47.6 percent). The Razorbacks hit 28 of 64 shots from the field (43.8 percent), 8 of 25 shots from 3-point range (32.0 percent) and 9 of 17 shots from the foul line (52.9 percent).
MSU held a 43-36 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 10 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had 18 assists and 11 turnovers.
Playing as a reserve, Borchert logged 31 minutes and scored a game-high 21 points. Johnson added 11 points, while Trivante Bloodman and Craig Sword each added 10 points. Tevin Moore scored five points and recorded four rebounds in a career-high 17 minutes of action.
Arkansas received 19 points from Bell, 15 points from Michael Qualls and 13 points from Bobby Portis.
MSU remains home to host Tennessee at 7 p.m. Wednesday. That contest will be televised regionally by SEC TV.