STARKVILLE, Miss. – Senior Marcus Britt led all Hog scorers with 10 points and was 2-of-3 on three pointers, but would be the only Razorback on the men’s basketball team in double figures in a 67-56 loss to Mississippi State on Wednesday night in Starkville, Miss.
Arkansas (14-9, 4-6), even after causing 21 Bulldog turnovers, suffered its 11th straight loss at Humphrey Coliseum and dropped its third straight conference game of the season. Mississippi State (13-10, 5-4) wins its second straight conference game and was able to capitalize on nearly perfect free throw shooting (16-of-18) and win the battle on the boards, 36-27.
“I thought we had some good opportunities in the second half, but couldn’t capitalize,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “We took care of the basketball and forced 21 turnovers, but I was surprised we didn’t get more out of them.”
The Bulldogs struck first in the game, getting a three-pointer by Shaun Smith within the first minute and a half. However, Arkansas, not to be outdone, came out on a 7-0 run after those first Mississippi State points, getting a couple of layups from sophomore Marshawn Powell and a three-pointer from Britt. The entire first half seemed like a game of runs, as both teams shot very well from the field but saw the lead change hands only a couple of times. Arkansas was 11-of-34 for 32 percent from the floor, while the Bulldogs had a few less shot attempts, 11-of-24 for 46 percent in the opening half.
After taking that initial lead, the Hogs held it for nearly the entire half, building to as many as seven points, but a quick 8-0 run from the eight minute mark to the five minute mark put the Bulldogs out in front, their second lead since the opening points and would keep it for the remainder of the time. Arkansas tried to keep the deficit within striking distance for the final five minutes, but the Bulldogs went on another run, this time on a much larger scale, 11-3, consisting of three straight threes from Dee Bost and Jalen Steele. That final run propelled Mississippi State into the locker room with a 33-28 lead.
Sophomore Julyssess Nobles led the Hogs in the point category in the first half, scoring nine off the bench. Britt followed with six points, both from behind the three point line.
Arkansas jumped out on an 8-2 run to open the second half, courtesy of two three-pointers by junior Rotnei Clarke to actually take the lead back from the Bulldogs, 36-35, with just under 18 minutes to play. Mississippi State responded right back with their own 8-2 run to regain the advantage. Half of the points during that run came from Bost, who began to heat up in the second half after scoring eight in the first half.
It became all Bulldogs from there as they began building on that lead, going as high as 16 points as the clock passed the 10 minute mark as part of a 23-6 run, which would be the ultimate downfall of the Razorbacks. The Hogs did get the deficit to within eight with four minutes to play, but the Bulldogs continued their hot shooting even down the stretch, knocking down seven of their final nine free throws to ice the game and take the 11 point victory.
After Britt’s 10 point output, Clarke would add nine for the game, but only be 3-for-11 from the field. Mississippi State, on the other hand, had two players in double figure scoring. Bost led the way with 18 points and was 4-of-6 from three. Renardo Sidney would tack on 12 points to finish second on the team.
The men’s basketball team will be back in action this Saturday when they take on the LSU Tigers at Bud Walton Arena. The tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.