In The Lane:

Hogs hit low point at home

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2019
Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe looks to pass during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe looks to pass during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Mississippi State seized control early in the second half and went on to deliver a dubious loss to the University of Arkansas on Saturday.

Mississippi State’s 77-67 victory was the fifth loss of the season for the Razorbacks at Walton Arena. It marked the most home losses in a season for Arkansas under eighth-year Coach Mike Anderson.

The Razorbacks had been 110-17 under Anderson at Walton Arena entering the season. Their worst previous home record under Anderson had been a 13-4 mark during the 2015-16 season.

The five losses are the most at home in a season since the 2009-10 team went 12-9.

The loss to the Bulldogs dropped Arkansas to 10-5 at Walton Arena on the year.

The other previous losses had been 78-77 to Western Kentucky, 69-65 to Georgia Tech, 57-51 to Florida and 94-88 to LSU in overtime.

Saturday’s loss snapped the Razorbacks’ three-game winning streak at Walton Arena.

Jones goes off

Arkansas guard Mason Jones hit for 30 points, including 5-of-11 three-point shooting, in the loss to the Bulldogs.

“I thought he was fighting,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought he was in attack mode.”

Jones scored 45 percent of the the Razorbacks’ 67 points. The 6-5 sophomore guard made 9 of 18 field goals.

“Jones was fantastic,” Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. “We had trouble with him all night.”

Jones also scored 30 in a 57-51 home loss to Florida this year. It was the 25th time a Razorback had scored 30 or more points in an SEC game.

Turnover trouble

The Razorbacks committed a season-high 20 turnovers against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State converted the takeaways into a 27-22 edge in points off turnovers, including a series of run-out dunks and lob dunks during a 23-1 run early in the second half.

“That was big to score that many points off of turnovers,” Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said.

“Turnovers led to that big run,” Arkansas guard Mason Jones said.

Arkansas’ previous season-high had been 19 turnovers in its 106-87 loss at Tennessee on Jan. 15.

Starters Adrio Bailey, Daniel Gafford, Isaiah Joe and Jalen Harris — along with reserve Gabe Osabuohien — had three turnovers apiece.

The turnover follies reached a peak when the Hogs suffered turnovers on four consecutive possessions with mostly reserves in the game midway through the first half. Osabuohien had three of the turnovers, and Reggie Chaney had the other when Quinndary Weatherspoon picked his pocket on a drive and was rewarded with a long outlet pass for a dunk from Reggie Perry.

Defending Dan

The Bulldogs played physical on Arkansas center Daniel Gafford, with double teams frequently helping big men Abdul Ado and Reggie Perry on the 6-11 sophomore.

Gafford shot 2 of 7 to finish with 8 points and 11 rebounds. He also had 4 blocks, 2 steals and 3 turnovers.

“They were playing hard, being on top of him, and there was somebody on the back side, too,” Arkansas guard Mason Jones said.

“I thought Abdul’s defense on Gafford was fantastic, and this guy’s a lottery pick,” Bulldogs Coach Ben Howland said. “He did a great job hanging in there against a great player.”

Perry’s pick

Mississippi State freshman Reggie Perry, who was committed to Arkansas for more than a year before making a late flip to the Bulldogs, was booed as he caught the ball and missed a running hook shot on the game’s first possession. He also drew robust booing during his trips to the free-throw line.

A fan in the student section held up a sign that read “Bad Pick” when Perry’s name was called in the pregame introductions.

“It just felt like another away game for me,” said Perry, admitting he heard the boos. “It wasn’t anything that was not expected.”

Perry finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double in the past six games.

“He didn’t let it bother him,” Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. “And there were a lot of boos when he was announced.”

Key stretch

Mississippi State rattled off a 12-1 run with Arkansas center Daniel Gafford on the bench early in the second half.

Coach Mike Anderson pulled Gafford from the game after he picked up his second and third fouls in the span of 37 seconds. The second of those fouls was on the offensive end.

The Bulldogs had a 23-1 run overall during a span of 7:46 early in the half as Arkansas opened 0 of 14 from the floor.

No Nick

The Bulldogs played without guard Nick Weatherspoon, who has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Weatherspoon, an SEC All-Freshman selection last year, scored 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a 78-75 victory over the Razorbacks on Jan. 2, 2018, in Starkville, Miss. He had started 23 of 24 games this season.

Junior Tyson Carter started in Weatherspoon’s place and scored a season-high 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

“Tyson came up big time for us,” Mississippi State guard Robert Woodard said. “He gave us that extra punch, that push.”

Chasing Scotty

Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe notched a school record for three-pointers made by a freshman Tuesday at Missouri, and now he’s in pursuit of another mark held by one of the Razorbacks’ all-time greats.

Joe stretched his total of three-pointers made to 87 by hitting 1 of 5 against the Bulldogs. Current Arkansas assistant coach Scotty Thurman holds the Arkansas record by making 102 from behind the arc during the 1995 season.

Joe is currently in ninth place, needing two to reach Anthlon Bell (89 in 2016) for eighth, four to catch Rotnei Clarke (91 in 2011) for seventh, and six to equal Pat Bradley (93 in both 1998 and 1999) for fifth.

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