FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Jonathon Modica scored 26 points, including 17 in the first 6 minutes of the second half, and Arkansas pulled away for a 80-70 win Wednesday night over Mississippi State.
Playing in his final home game, Modica tied a career high with six 3-pointers, including five during a spectacular stretch just after halftime. Ronnie Brewer added 23 points for the Razorbacks, who have taken a big step toward their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2000-01 with four straight wins.
Arkansas (20-8, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) has won 20 games for the first time since that season, Nolan Richardson’s next-to-last as coach. That was also the last time the Razorbacks had a winning record in the SEC, something they assured with Wednesday’s win.
Arkansas led 36-28 after a contentious first half that included a pair of double technical fouls 25 seconds apart. The Razorbacks went on a 12-0 run to start the second half – a three-point play by Brewer followed by three 3-pointers by Modica.
Modica made two more 3-pointers – the second of which banked in from the left wing – and a layup before hobbling off holding his left leg. He returned and scored only two more points, but Mississippi State could pull no closer than eight.
Modica and fellow seniors Eric Ferguson and Dontell Jefferson received huge ovations when they were replaced with 18.9 seconds remaining. The crowd chanted “one more year” as Brewer, a junior, dribbled out the clock.
Reginald Delk had 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs (14-14, 4-11) were trying for their third straight sweep of Arkansas after beating the Razorbacks 69-67 in January to start the SEC season.
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