NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In a tale of two halves, Oklahoma State had a better second half than Arkansas had in the first half as the No. 6 Cowboys beat the Razorbacks, 85-76, in front of 17,021 in Alltel Arena Saturday.
Arkansas got off to a great start and led 32-10 with 8:45 to play in the first half on a jumper by Brandon Dean. OSU scored the next eight points and eventually climbed within seven points at the break, 43-36, on two Melvin Sanders free throws.
Arkansas (6-4) shot 53.1 percent in the first half and forced 20 Cowboy turnovers.
The Razorbacks led most of the second half until OSU took its first lead of the game at 75-74 on two Victor Williams free throws with 2:19 remaining. Fredrik Jonzen hit a three-pointer a minute later for a four-point Cowboy lead.
T.J. Cleveland hit two free throws for the Hogs, but Arkansas failed to score again. The Razorbacks were forced to foul and OSU made four more free throws and added a layup, all by Williams who finished with 17 points.
OSU (12-0) shot 60.9 percent in the second half and became the first opponent to shoot better than 50 percent this year against UA (56.5). The Cowboys also took better care of the ball in the second half, recording nine turnovers while getting 10 from Arkansas.
Maurice Baker led OSU with 21 points while Sanders added 14.
Jannero Pargo continued his hot shooting and led the Razorbacks with 21 points, hitting eight of 15 shots, including five of nine three-pointers. J.J. Sullinger scored in double figures for the fifth straight game with a season-high 20 points. Dean finished with 15 and Dionisio Gomez 11 and a team-high six rebounds.
All four of Arkansas’ losses, to OSU, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and Illinois, are to teams currently ranked in the top 25.
The Razorbacks are off until Dec. 29 when Elon University visits Bud Walton Arena for a 2 p.m. game televised by ARSN.