Coming off of a heartbreaking one point loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday, Mississippi State couldn't recover, falling to the Arkansas Razorbacks 82-68 in Fayetteville.
The Bulldogs revolved around Craig Sword in this game. Sword went 7-9 from the field, 2-3 from three, and made five of his eight free throws for 21 points, which led the way for Mississippi State. Behind him was Gavin Ware with 14 points, although not having a great day shooting the ball.
The obvious difference in this game was the Razorbacks' three point shooting. Arkansas shot an insane 66.7% (16-24) from behind the arc, led by Dusty Hannahs with eight threes and Anthlon Bell five. Hannahs was Arkansas' leading scorer with 26 points, and Bell was behind him with 25.
Offense was another problem for the Bulldogs. Outside of Sword and Ware, absolutely no one could get anything going. Malik Newman had nine points, I.J. Ready had seven, Fred Thomas had six, and Travis Daniels had only five. The worst shooting performance by an individual player went to Quindarry Weatherspoon, who shot 2-13 from the field and 1-5 from three for six points.
Mississippi State hung around in this game, but the shooting of the Razorbacks kept drowning the Bulldogs. State played pretty well in the 1st half, finding themselves only down four at the break, 36-32. But then, they ran straight into a buzzsaw to start the 2nd half. The Razorbacks started the period on a 12-2 run and found themselves up 50-36. The Bulldogs fought back, cutting the lead to five, but a Dusty Hannahs three pointer killed the comeback. With a little over five minutes to go in the game, Arkansas was only up three, 62-59, but threes by Hannahs and Anthlon Bell kept them in the driver's seat. And the knockout punch to Mississippi State was thrown with 3:48 left to go. Mississippi State clung on to a five point deficit, but Arkansas made two free throws, knocked down three consecutive threes and threw down a dunk to take an 82-66 lead.
The Bulldogs fought hard, but in the end, once again, it just didn't go their way. Mississippi State is now 7-7, 0-2 on the year, and the schedule only gets tougher, as they travel to Lexington to play Kentucky on Tuesday night.