FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team rallied to come within one point in the final minutes before surrendering 10 of the final 13 points to fall 63-55 at Arkansas on Saturday night.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 14-8 (5-4 SEC), while the Razorbacks pick up their eighth straight win and improve to 18-5 (7-3 SEC).
Junior guard Iverson Molinar led the Bulldogs with a game-high 19 points, while graduate forward Garrison Brooks recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith returned after a three-game absence and finished with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and a block in 27 minutes of action.
The trio of Molinar, Brooks and Smith accounted for all of MSU’s final 17 points. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 18-for-51 (35.3%), including 3-for-12 (25%) on 3-pointers. They made 16-for-22 (72.7%) from the free-throw line.
The Razorbacks shot 23-for-61 (37.7%) and were led by senior guard JD Notae with 14 points, while sophomore forward Jaylin Williams added 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Graduate guard Chris Lykes also scored 10 points, including a contested 3-pointer with 20 seconds on the shot clock that gave Arkansas a 61-54 lead with 25 seconds to play.
The Bulldogs held an early 4-2 lead before graduate guard Stanley Umude converted a three-point play to make it 6-4 and the Razorbacks never again trailed. With the score 12-12, Arkansas went on an 8-0 run to go up 20-12 with 7:55 left in the first half.
MSU closed out the half on an 13-5 run to knot things up at 25-25 at the halftime break.
In the second half, Arkansas used an 8-0 run to take a 53-44 lead with 6:03 left to play. The Bulldogs responded by scoring eight consecutive points to trim their deficit to 53-52 with 2:07 left.
Williams hit a 3-pointer to fuel a 10-2 run for the Razorbacks to put Arkansas up 63-54 before a free throw by Smith ended the game’s scoring at 63-55.
The Bulldogs return to action Wednesday when they host No. 22 Tennessee at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.