Perry's double-double leads Bulldogs past Arkansas

By: Paul Jones, The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Jimmy Whitt Jr. drives handles the basketball during the Razorbacks' 71-64 victory over Indiana on Dec. 29, 2019.
Jimmy Whitt Jr. drives handles the basketball during the Razorbacks' 71-64 victory over Indiana on Dec. 29, 2019.

— Reggie Perry had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 77-70 win over Arkansas on Wednesday.

Perry has now scored 20 points or more in five of his last seven games. He also recorded his SEC-leading 11th double-double of the season and his 20th career double-double. DJ Stewart Jr. added 14 points for Mississippi State (12-6 overall, 3-3) while Nick Weatherspoon and Tyson Carter had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt Jr. each had 20 points to lead Arkansas (14-4, 3-3).

"That was a great win over a really good team," said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. "It is such a difficult matchup with Arkansas, and their guards play so unselfish. The key for us was taking care of the basketball, only nine turnovers, against a team that forces 17.6 turnovers a game. That was huge for us and we did a good job knocking down our foul shots."

Perry scored the first five points of the second half as the Bulldogs extended the lead to 35-28. A three-point play by Weatherspoon gave the Bulldogs a 44-36 advantage with 12:41 to go. Mississippi State led by as many as 11 in the second half and never allowed Arkansas to get the deficit under five points.

Mississippi State shot 38.6% from the field, including 50% in the second half. The Bulldogs made 6 of 19 from 3 point territory and made 27 of 31 at the free throw line. Arkansas shot 47.6% from the floor and made just 4 of 20 beyond the arc. The Razorbacks did not make their first free throw until the 2:35 mark of the second half and finished 6 of 11 at the line.

"The whole game was free throws," said Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman. "We have to convert the front end of 1-and-1s, and that's back-to-back games where that was a problem. I thought we played solid defense the whole game.

Musselman added: "We know we're not a good rebounding team, but we were close enough to win the game. But Mississippi State is a really talented team that is really long. We needed a flawless game to beat a team like that and we didn't get that."

Mississippi State held a 41-31 advantage on the boards but were outscored 46-24 in the paint. Arkansas had seven turnovers while the Bulldogs turned it over nine times.

"We just realized we were not communicating enough and not playing hard enough on defense," said Perry, who was 14 of 15 at the free throw line. "We needed to help out more, and once we did that we got stops and were patient on offense. We just weren't helping each other out on defense and the help side is a big key to our defense. So we just got back to staying in front of the ball."

Behind four early points by Perry, Mississippi State jumped out to a 9-3 advantage to open the game. But Arkansas later responded with a 9-0 run and held a 16-11 lead following a Jeantal Cylla 3-pointer.

Both teams traded turns with the lead until Mississippi State used a 9-0 run to grab at 28-22 lead late in the opening half. Mississippi State held a 30-26 halftime lead as the first half featured seven lead changes and three ties.

Mississippi State shot just 30.3% in the first half and made 4 of 11 beyond the arc. The Bulldogs were 6 of 7 at the charity stripe in the opening half, led by Perry's 6 of 6 showing at the line. Arkansas shot 42.9% from the field in the first half and made just 2 of 10 beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs held a 23-17 rebounding advantage in the first half but were outscored 18-6 in the paint.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: After a 3-1 start inside the SEC, Arkansas has now dropped back-to-back road games at Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Mississippi State: After an 0-3 start inside SEC play, the Bulldogs evened their conference record with a 3-0 homestand. Now the Bulldogs will play three of the next four games on the road.

UP NEXT

Arkansas: The Razorbacks host TCU on Saturday as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs hit the road on Saturday and face Oklahoma in Oklahoma City as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

Earlier

Mississippi State 77, Arkansas 70 - Final

Arkansas has lost two in a row for the first time under Eric Musselman.

Reggie Perry, the former Razorbacks commitment, finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds. He made 14 of 15 attempts at the free throw line.

Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt each scored 20 points for the Razorbacks, but Isaiah Joe added just five points on 2 of 13 shooting and 1 of 8 from 3. Desi Sills, too, scored just two points.

The Razorbacks are now 14-4 overall and 3-3 in SEC play entering the Big 12/SEC Challenge against TCU on Saturday.

We'll have more from this game later on WholeHogSports.com.

Mississippi State 67, Arkansas 62 - 1:11 left

The Bulldogs have led by as many as 11 points three times, but a quick spurt has Arkansas down just five with more than one minute to go. Jimmy Whitt hit a layup then buried two free throws, and Desi Sills got his first bucket at the rim through contact after a Bulldogs turnover.

Mississippi State 62, Arkansas 52 - 3:59 left

Bulldogs guard DJ Stewart shot faked a left-corner 3 and Isaiah Joe stumbled and fell, leaving a driving lane for a layup. The Razorbacks are facing their largest deficit of the night at the final media timeout of the game.

After Adrio Bailey's layup to pull Arkansas within three points, Mississippi State went on a 9-2 run aided by Nick Weatherspoon, Tyson Carter and Reggie Perry.

Perry has a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. He is 12 of 13 at the line. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks are 0 of 5 at the line and just 4 of 18 beyond the arc.

Isaiah Joe is 2 of 12 from the floor tonight and 1 of 7 from 3.

Mississippi State 56, Arkansas 50 - 6:27 left

Mason Jones added a bucket going right off the bounce, trimming the Bulldogs' lead at the under-8 media timeout. He had another layup attempt blocked just before the break. Arkansas will have possession when play resumes.

Jones has had an OK night, and he's come on since halftime, adding 10 of his 12 points.

It'd be big if Arkansas could get a score from Isaiah Joe or Desi Sills. They are a combined 2 of 14 shooting and 1 of 9 from deep. Sills is in danger of not scoring for the first time since last February.

Mississippi State 56, Arkansas 48 - 7:33 left

The Razorbacks pulled to within 51-48 on a nice up-and-under move by Adrio Bailey, but the Bulldogs have reeled off five straight to extend their lead.

Desi Sills committed a silly foul on the perimeter on Nick Weatherspoon, which put Mississippi State in the bonus. He knocked down both at the line, then, after a Jimmy Whitt miss, Tyson Carter buried a corner 3.

The Bulldogs are 6 of 17 from 3-point range tonight, and Carter is 2 of 4. He is one of three Mississippi State players with eight points to complement Reggie Perry's night.

Mississippi State 49, Arkansas 44 - 9:42 left

Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt have 16 of Arkansas' 18 points in the second half, and Isaiah Joe just added his first bucket since the early going.

Whitt is 4 of 7 on midrange jumpers tonight, including 3 of 4 on the left side of the floor. He has a team-high 12 points tonight, and Jones has 10. Reggie Chaney also has six, but is scoreless this half.

Reggie Perry's monster night continues. He's got 10 points and five boards since halftime, and 22 and 10 for the game. Mississippi State, though, is minus-1 tonight when he is on the floor.

Mississippi State 39, Arkansas 33 - 15:56 left

Reggie Perry has eight of the Bulldogs' nine points in the second half, helping Mississippi State extend its halftime lead. He is up to 20 points and seven rebounds. He is 10 of 11 at the line.

Jimmy Whitt drew a foul on a midrange jumper in the lane and will be at the line when play resumes. Mason Jones has five points since the break, one bucket at the rim after driving his defender right, then a 3 from the left wing. It was a timely shot. He was 2 of his last 16 from 3 prior to that make.

Reggie Chaney left the game early in the second half after coming down awkwardly. We'll see if there is an update on him. He's sitting on the bench favoring his left leg at the moment.

Mississippi State 30, Arkansas 26 - Half

Really good first-half run from Reggie Chaney, who leads the Razorbacks with six points in nine minutes. He finished 3 of 4 from the floor and recorded one block and one steal. Arkansas was plus-5 when Chaney was in the lineup.

Reggie Perry leads all scorers with 12 points and five rebounds. He is 6 of 6 at the line. Iverson Molinar is the only other Bulldogs player with five or more points. Nick Weatherspoon has three assists and Perry has a pair as well.

Jeantal Cylla gave Arkansas some valuable minutes, adding five points and two boards in 13 minutes. His first bucket of the game was his first since Nov. 22 against South Dakota State.

Desi Sills has not scored for Arkansas, and Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones are a combined 2 of 10 shooting and 1 of 7 from 3-point range. Thanks to the contributions of role players, the Razorbacks have a real shot to steal one on the road.

Rebounding battle: Mississippi State 23-17

A few other notes: Joe is 1 of 6 on catch-and-shoot 3s tonight, including 0 of 3 in the corners. Cylla has hit two 3s this season, and both have come from the left corner. Chaney is 11 of his last 12 from the floor dating back to the Vanderbilt game. Half of the Razorbacks' first-half points came from their bench. The Bulldogs are shooting 30.3 percent. Nick Weatherspoon, DJ Stewart and Tyson Carter are a combined 3 of 18 shooting.

Mississippi State 26, Arkansas 22 - 1:11 left first half

The Bulldogs are currently on a 7-0 run behind scores at the rim from Reggie Perry and Abdul Ado, and a 3-pointer by Iverson Molinar. Mississippi State is 4 of 11 from 3 tonight and 10 of 32 from the floor as a team.

Arkansas has gotten virtually nothing offensively from Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones, who are a combined 2 of 10 shooting and 1 of 7 from deep. Joe is 1 of 8 and 1 of 6 from 3. He has not been good.

Cylla still leads Arkansas with five points, and Adrio Bailey and Jimmy Whitt have four apiece.

Mississippi State 17, Arkansas 16 - 7:18 left first half

After the Razorbacks ripped off a 13-2 run to grab a 16-11 lead, the Bulldogs answered back with 3s on back-to-back possessions from DJ Stewart and Tyson Carter. Carter is Mississippi State's biggest threat beyond the arc, and no Arkansas player found him in transition.

Reggie Perry has four points, two rebounds and two assists for the Bulldogs. Jeantal Cylla has a game-high five points in six minutes, and Isaiah Joe has three on 1 of 6 shooting.

Arkansas 16, Mississippi State 11 - 9:36 left first half

The Razorbacks grab a lead then extend it in a hurry. Reggie Chaney blocked a Reggie Perry long 2 in the right corner then got a floater in the lane to fall over Perry on the ensuing possession.

Jeantal Cylla added another score, a 3 from the left corner. He is two points from a season high, and there is 9-plus to go in the first half. Great run from he and Chaney to this point.

Arkansas 11, Mississippi State 11 - 11:32 left first half

Not a bad little stretch for the Razorbacks to get back into this one.

Amid Arkansas' 8-2 run, it got a bucket from Jeantal Cylla, his first since Nov. 22 against South Dakota, the first made midrange jumper from the left side of the floor of the season for Adrio Bailey, and buckets from Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt.

Whitt's was an and-1 in transition following a turnover. He missed the free throw. Jones' score came after he took his defender right off the bounce, finishing with an up-and-under move.

Mississippi State 9, Arkansas 3 - 15:17 left first half

Bulldogs forward Reggie Perry is off to a good start tonight, accounting for four points in Mississippi State's current 6-0 run and chipping in two assists. His last two buckets were hook shots over Adrio Bailey.

Arkansas turned the ball over on its first two possessions, one a Mason Jones pick-and-roll with Bailey and Joe simply dribbled the ball off his knee driving baseline. Joe has the Razorbacks' only bucket right now, a 3 from the top of the key.

Arkansas has missed its last four shots. Mississippi State is 4 of 12 and 1 of 4 from deep.

Pregame

Arkansas' starting lineup: Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones, Jimmy Whitt, Desi Sills and Adrio Bailey.

The battle on the glass is the obvious matchup to keep an eye on, but I think it is vital that Jones plays and shoots well tonight. Over his last three games, he is 2 of 14 from 3-point range and 6 of 20 inside the arc. He needs to be more aggressive and efficient. Also going to be interesting to see if Joe can bounce back. He went 31-plus minutes between his second and third bucket against Kentucky. He has to be more of a factor.

Defensively, the Razorbacks are No. 2 in SEC play in terms of efficiency, allowing 96.5 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom analytics. Arkansas has also turned opponents over on 22 percent of possessions. That's another key. As good as Mississippi State is on the boards, the Bulldogs can be sloppy with the ball at times - 21.8 percent turnover rate for the season (310th nationally).

Mississippi State's starters: Nick Weatherspoon (6-2), Reggie Perry (6-10), Robert Woodard (6-7), DJ Stewart (6-6) and Abdul Ado (6-11).

We all understand Arkansas was bullied on the glass at LSU. This Mississippi State team bullied the Tigers when they met. Still, LSU won thanks to a last-second 3 from Skyler Mays. The Bulldogs are the No. 1 team in America in terms of offensive rebound rate (41.4 percent), and that figure jumps to 42.3 percent in SEC games.

Perry, the former Razorbacks commitment, is the player to watch for the Bulldogs. He has finished with 10-plus rebounds in four of five league games, and added 20-plus points three times. He's a load on the interior. He ranks in the top 50 nationally in offensive and defensive rebound rate, per KenPom.

Tyson Carter, who has come off the bench for Mississippi State the last two games, is the only Bulldogs player with more than 50 3-point attempts. He went 5 of 11 - 4 of 7 against Georgia - last week in the team's two wins.

Running updates by Scottie Bordelon of WholeHogSports.com

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