SEC MEN’S BASKETBALL MISSISSIPPI STATE 84, ARKANSAS 78:

Hogs on first skid; Bulldogs' 12 three-pointers ensure losing streak

By: Bob Holt
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Arkansas players watch the final moments of an 84-78 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Arkansas players watch the final moments of an 84-78 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' basketball team has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Mississippi State beat the Razorbacks 84-78 Tuesday night in Walton Arena before an announced crowd of 8,007 after Arkansas lost 97-71 at No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday night.

"I'm obviously disappointed tonight with our performance," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "It starts with me and preparing our guys to play against a Mississippi State team that was hungry and very, very confident."

The Bulldogs (11-4, 2-1 SEC), who beat LSU 95-78 in Baton Rouge on Saturday, won back-to-back conference road games for the first time since 2011 when they won at Tennessee and Arkansas.

"That was a phenomenal win for us tonight," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. "I'm really proud of our team and how hard we played and how poised we were on the road in a tough environment against a very good team.

"This is obviously our best win of the year."

The Razorbacks (12-4, 1-3) fell to 9-2 at Walton Arena this season with their second consecutive loss at home. Florida beat Arkansas 81-72 in the SEC opener at Walton Arena on Dec. 29.

It's the first time Arkansas has lost its first two SEC home games since 2009, when the Razorbacks lost to Mississippi State and Auburn.

Mississippi State sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon scored a game-high 25 points. He hit 8 of 11 shots, including 6 of 7 three-pointers.

"We had no answer for Weatherspoon," Anderson said.

Freshman guard Lamar Peters scored 14 points for the Bulldogs, and sophomore forward Aric Holman had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Senior center Moses Kingsley led Arkansas with 19 points. Senior guard Dusty Hannahs scored 17 points, junior guard Anton Beard had 11 and junior Jaylen Barford scored 10.

"We just didn't make the winning plays," Hannahs said. "We gave up easy baskets, and they outrebounded us."

The Bulldogs hit 12 of 26 three-point attempts -- one shy of their season-high 13 against Georgia State -- and outrebounded the Razorbacks 41-29.

Mississippi State had 15 offensive rebounds, including six by the 6-10 Holman.

The rebounding edge helped the Bulldogs hit 22 of 32 free throws compared to 15 of 23 by the Razorbacks.

"In the scouting report, we talked about how they're going to shoot three-point shots and we've got to be there and we've got to rebound the basketball," Anderson said. "Those things there came back to haunt us."

Junior forward Dustin Thomas led Arkansas with seven rebounds. Barford had five.

"We weren't getting the rebounds," Kingsley said. "They were getting the rebounds. That's all I've got to say about that."

Mississippi State led 40-34 at halftime on the strength of Weatherspoon's 14 points, but the Razorbacks scored the first six points of the second half and tied the game 40-40 on Barford's 16-foot jumper with 17:56 left.

After two misses by Beard, Mississippi State regained the lead for good, 42-40, on Peters' layup.

The Bulldogs moved ahead 69-61 on Peters' three-point basket with 5:12 left.

Arkansas didn't pull closer than five points the rest of the game.

"In the second half they made some big, big plays," Anderson said. "We tied the game and had a chance to get a lead and just couldn't make a basket.

"But give them credit. They did an outstanding job of answering the call any time we made a run at them."

Mississippi State point guard I.J. Ready, a senior from Little Rock Parkview, had 8 points, 5 steals and 4 assists in 30 minutes.

The Bulldogs shot 45.5 percent from the field (25 of 55).

"I thought our passing, penetrating and kicking was outstanding," Howland said.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-4 lead as Weatherspoon hit two three-point baskets.

Arkansas went ahead 9-8 on Kingsley's layup. Peters hit a three-point basket for a 16-15 Mississippi State lead.

The Razorbacks outscored the Bulldogs 11-1 over a 4:02 span, including eight points by Beard, to move ahead 24-17 with 9:38 left in the half.

Mississippi State responded with a 21-6 run, with Peters hitting back-to-back three-pointers, to take a 38-30 lead with 1:57 left on two free throws by Weatherspoon.

Kingsley hit a bank shot with 37 seconds left in the first half to cut Mississippi State's halftime lead to 40-34.

The Bulldogs shot 41.9 percent in the first half (13 of 31), but 46.2 percent on three-pointers (7 of 15).

Arkansas stays home to play Missouri (5-10, 0-3) at 5 p.m. Saturday in Walton Arena. Auburn beat Missouri 77-72 Tuesday night.

Game sketch

RECORDS Arkansas 12-4, 1-3 SEC; Mississippi State 11-4, 2-1

STARS Mississippi State sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon (25 points), freshman guard Lamar Peters (14 points) and sophomore forward Aric Holman (13 points, 11 rebounds)

TURNING POINT The Bulldogs used a 10-5 run to push their lead from 62-59 to 72-64 with 3:35 left.

KEY STAT Mississippi State hit 12 of 26 three-pointers.

UP NEXT Arkansas plays Missouri at 5 p.m. Saturday at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Sports on 01/11/2017

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