Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
In the Lane:
Bulldogs force feed 'Spoon
Mississippi State's Quinndary Weatherspoon is guarded by Arkansas' Manny Watkins during a game Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Quinndary Weatherspoon made a tough three-pointer with an Arkansas hand in his face on his first shot Tuesday night.
Mississippi State's sophomore guard hardly slowed down, torching the Hogs for 25 points in the Bulldogs' 84-78 victory on Tuesday at Walton Arena.
Weatherspoon, who is recovering from a sore wrist, made 8 of 11 shots -- including 6 of 7 from three-point range -- in 34 minutes.
"My teammates got me open shots, and I was able to knock them down tonight," Weatherspoon said.
"It's all about reps," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said "He's a great shooter. He just needs more reps. There's no hesitation. He's just confident."
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said the plan was to make Weatherspoon a driver, but the Razorbacks weren't able to keep him from connecting from long distance.
"He made a pretty big difference," Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs said.
"We let them get into a rhythm," Arkansas center Moses Kingsley said. "We didn't get into them and make them uncomfortable."
Mississippi State won the rebounding battle 41-29 and had 15 offensive rebounds to Arkansas' 10.
"We outboarded a team by 12," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. "We haven't outrebounded a team by double digits in a while."
Mississippi State's Aric Holman had six of his game-high 11 rebounds on the offensive glass.
"At the beginning of the game, [Howland] was telling us they don't box out very good, so we focused on that," Holman said.
The Razorbacks have not beaten an SEC opponent in rebounds this season, although they tied Florida 37-37 in an 81-72 loss in their conference opener.
The Razorbacks were outrebounded 44-29 in their 97-71 loss at Kentucky and by 43-36 in their 82-78 victory at Tennessee.
Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs and Mississippi State guard Xavian Stapleton pushed and jawed as the teams exited the court at halftime, leading to an intervention by a UA police officer and the referees.
Hannahs grabbed the rebound of a missed heave by Daryl Macon after the buzzer sounded, then took a three-point shot at the other end while leaving the court. Stapleton rebounded the Hannahs shot and nudged him with the ball, leading to an escalation of actions and words. No punches were thrown.
"He came and slapped the ball in front of me and got in my face," Hannahs said. "I just hit the ball. I wasn't worried about it. It's just water under the bridge. It didn't affect the game."
The Razorbacks, who averaged 5½ blocked shots entering the game, did not post a blocked shot against the Bulldogs, who shot 26 of their 55 shots from three-point range.
According to HogStats.com, it was the first game Arkansas failed to record a block since a loss to Mississippi State on Feb. 14, 2004, and the sixth time the Hogs have not blocked a shot in Walton Arena.
Mississippi State senior I.J. Ready, a Little Rock Parkview graduate, made 6 of 6 free throws, scored 8 points and had 4 assists and 4 turnovers in his first victory at Walton Arena.
"I'm so happy for I.J. Ready to come home and win for the first time and the last time he plays in this building," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. "I can't say enough about I.J. Ready, his leadership."
Jaylen Barford moved back into the starting lineup in place of Dusty Hannahs to make his 10th start in 16 games, alongside center Moses Kingsley (16 starts), guards Daryl Macon (14) and Manny Watkins (12), and forward Arlando Cook (3).
With Arkansas trailing 40-34 at the half, Coach Mike Anderson started Anton Beard, Hannahs and Dustin Thomas in place of Macon, Watkins and Cook.
Hot in here
Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland asked for some water to open his news conference and later went on a spiel about the temperature in Walton Arena.
"I don't know what you guys thought, but it was really warm in that building," Howland said. "It's like a 15-degree difference between our locker room and out on that floor, which is phenomenal."
Arkansas leads the series 33-27, including 21-6 in home games and 5-1 in neutral-site games.
Moses Kingsley hit a three-pointer on his first shot of the night from the left wing. The 6-10 senior improved to 3 of 5 from three-point range on the season.
Mississippi State made 4 of its first 6 three-point shots, two from Quinndary Weatherspoon and one each from Aric Holman and Lamar Peters. After the Bulldogs missed four three-pointers in a row, they ended the half by making three in a row by Weatherspoon and Peters before a miss from Xavian Stapleton.
• Mississippi State led for 28:11, including all but 40 seconds in the second half; Arkansas led for 8:16; and the game was tied for 3:33.
• Mississippi State and Ole Miss play in Walton Arena this season, but Arkansas will not play a road game in Mississippi for the first time since joining the SEC.
• Freshman guard C.J. Jones took his first shot since Dec. 22, a three-pointer from the right corner that missed long in the first half.
Sports on 01/11/2017
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