FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -Sonny Weems scored 22 points and Patrick Beverley added 19 to help Arkansas snap Mississippi State’s nine-game winning streak with a 78-58 win Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (14-6, 5-1) had been the only Southeastern Conference team without a league loss, but they turned the ball over 22 times against the Razorbacks, leaving coach Rick Stansbury still a win short of 200.
Arkansas (15-5, 4-2) moved within a game of the lead in the SEC West. Mississippi State hasn’t started 6-0 in league play since the 1960-61 season.
The Bulldogs went scoreless until Jarvis Varnado’s free throw 4:31 into the game. Jamont Gordon scored Mississippi State’s next 10 points, including a dunk and two 3-pointers, for an 11-7 lead.
That was only a brief setback for Arkansas’ scrappy defense. The Razorbacks went on a 14-0 run and led comfortably for the rest of the half. Weems highlighted the streak with three 3-pointers, the last of which coming as he was fouled for a rare four-point play.
Beverley finished the half with 14 points and Arkansas led 43-28.
Mississippi State cut the deficit to single digits in the second half, but the Bulldogs were too careless with the ball to mount a serious rally. Gordon led the team with 24 points, and Charles Rhodes finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Varnado blocked four shots, giving him 101 for the season, but he wasn’t a factor as Arkansas built its big lead. He committed his second foul with 13:50 to play in the first half and sat out until the beginning of the second.
Weems made five 3-pointers for the second straight game. Beverley had 10 rebounds for Arkansas – he has emerged as the team’s leading rebounder despite his 6-foot-1 frame.
The Razorbacks were playing without forward Charles Thomas, suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Weems’ fifth 3-pointer of the game made it 55-42, and seldom-used senior Vincent Hunter made one for a 59-45 advantage. Steven Hill then blocked Gordon inside.
Weems later threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk on a fast break, giving Arkansas a 68-52 lead with under five minutes remaining.
Mississippi State allowed its most points since an 84-82 loss to Clemson on Nov. 15.
The Razorbacks play host to Florida at 2:05 p.m. Saturday in a game televised by Raycom Sports.