FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback men’s basketball team had four players in double digit scoring on Wednesday night, but the Mississippi State Bulldogs scored 24 points off 12 Hog turnovers en route to defeating Arkansas on senior night, 88-78.
Even with the Razorbacks dropping 11 three-pointers for an even 50 percent, Mississippi State had a solid shooting night from the field as well at 49 percent. The Hogs even got a fourth straight double-double from sophomore Marshawn Powell, as he went for 14 points and 13 rebounds, but would be outdone by the Bulldogs’ Kodi Augustus and Ravern Johnson, who combined for 48 points in the game.
“Both teams competed hard,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “In the second half, we didn’t play as well as we did in the first. The difference was our 10 turnovers in the second half. Give credit to Mississippi State. They made the shots.”
After Arkansas got the scoring started by way of a Delvon Johnson layup, it would be the Bulldogs, who held the lead for the majority of the first half. Although no lead grew to more than six as the game became tied three times in the opening ten minutes. In those first minutes, it was a shooter’s paradise as both teams had the three-ball working early. Mississippi State dropped four threes and the Hogs had the remaining two, courtesy of sophomore Julysses Nobles and junior Rotnei Clarke.
Passing the eight minute mark, the Bulldogs still held a slim 22-17 lead, but the Razorbacks then began to work a more inside game, while still holding a firm grasp on the outside shot. Johnson cut the lead to three on a tip-in, his fourth point of the night, and then senior Jemal Farmer began making the most of his senior night, scoring the next five Razorback points to tie the game at 24 with five minutes to play. Another senior, Marcus Britt gave the Hogs their first lead of the game soon after on a jump shot to make it 26-24 Arkansas.
Mississippi State continued to shoot well for those remaining five minutes to tie the game up two more times, but every time the Bulldogs scored, the Hogs had an answer. First a three-ball from Clarke gave Arkansas a one point lead with just under two minutes. Then, after a Dee Bost jumper, Britt answered with, yet, another three-ball. Johnson finished off the half with jumper and the Hogs had a 39-35 lead at the half. In the final eight minutes, Arkansas outscored Mississippi State, 22-13.
Clarke led the way for the Razorbacks in the first half with 10 points and two three-pointers. He would be the only Hog in double-digit scoring. Powell led all rebounders in the half with six. Clarke would be outdone in the shooting category by Mississippi State’s Ravern Johnson, who had 13 points. Overall, as a team, Arkansas shot a solid 44 percent from the field, but the Bulldogs had a slightly better percentage at 52 for the half.
Coming out of the locker room, Arkansas seemed to have kept the momentum going in their favor to score six of the first eight points, which included even more three-pointers from Britt and Clarke giving the Hogs an an eight point lead, their largest of the night. The Razorbacks never relinquished that lead for the next nine minutes, but the Bulldogs did tie it up two more times during that span to stay within striking distance.
It was then in the final 10 minutes that Mississippi State began their second half shooting streak. After a jumper by Ravern Johnson to tie the game at 60, the Bulldogs went on 13-3 run over a span of nearly five minutes. When the run finally ended on Powell layup, the scoreboard showed a 73-65 lead for Mississippi State. That run was the ultimate dagger as Arkansas could never recover and the Bulldogs pushed the lead to as many as 12 under three minutes.
Clarke finished the game with 24 points to lead the Razorbacks and sank four three-pointers. Britt, also scored in double figures (10) for the second straight game. It is his 10th double digit scoring effort of his career and his fifth of the season.
The men’s basketball team will conclude their regular season at Ole Miss this Saturday with tip-off in Oxford scheduled to be at 3 p.m. The game will be televised by the SEC Network and streamed online at ESPN3.com. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.