FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas forced 20 or more turnovers for the ninth straight game and the Razorbacks knocked off No. 22 Mississippi State, 75-64, in Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday in a game televised nationally by ESPN.
Arkansas forced 21 turnovers, scoring 22 points off those mistakes, and held the Bulldogs (14-2, 1-1) to 37 percent shooting.
The win gives Arkansas (10-4) the early lead in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division at 2-0. The win was the first in three tries against ranked teams this season. Arkansas had earlier losses to then-No. 5 Illinois and then-No. 6 Oklahoma State.
UA shot 45 percent for the game, including 36 percent from three-point range (10 of 28) to win its fourth straight game. The bigger Bulldogs had a 46-35 rebounding advantage and doubled up the Hogs on the offensive glass, 14-7, to score 18 second-chance points, but Arkansas’ duo to Jannero Pargo and Brandon Dean helped the Razorbacks pull away for the win.
Pargo finished with a game-high 18 points while Dean had 16 points on six of 11 shooting and a career-high three blocked shots.
MSU cut a 17-point deficit to 60-51, but Pargo scored on a layup and nailed a three-pointer for a 65-52 lead with 4:17 to play. A Pargo free throw gave Arkansas a 70-57 lead with 1:08 remaining.
Derrick Zimmerman led MSU with 17 points, going five of eight from the field and seven of 11 at the free throw line. The Bulldogs were 14 of 23 on free throws while UA was seven of 16.
Marckell Patterson added 12 points for Mississippi State while Mario Austin had 11.
Dionisio Gomez had nine points and six rebounds for Arkansas while Teddy Gipson added nine points and a game-high five assists. Alonzo Lane had his best game of the year with seven points and five rebounds.
Matt Jones, who joined the basketball team on Monday after running for 592 yards and five touchdowns for Arkansas’ football team, played the final 1:08 and had a dunk with nine seconds to play to close out the scoring for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks play at LSU on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 12:30 p.m. in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.