In what ended as another disappointing loss for the Razorback basketball team, the Mississippi State Bulldogs left Bud Walton Arena with a 77-67 win Saturday night.
For an agonizing eight minutes to start the second half, Arkansas did not make a field goal. That stretch included a 23-1 Mississippi State run and switched a six-point Arkansas lead to a 14-point deficit. The abysmal dry spell was too much for the Razorbacks to overcome.
Arkansas entered the game desperate for a win at home after coming back winless from a two-game road trip to South Carolina and Missouri, two of the teams at the bottom of the SEC. But the Razorbacks found no luck Saturday night, even though they started out the game hot.
The Hogs made their first five field goal attempts and sophomore guard Mason Jones made four of his six 3-point attempts in the first half. Overall, Arkansas finished with a shooting percentage just under 60 percent to start the game and held a six-point lead going into the locker room.
Once the second half began, though, it seemed as if there was a different team in white. Sophomore star Daniel Gafford was tagged with two fouls in under a minute, giving him three on the night. As Gafford found his way to the bench, the Arkansas offense was left utterly helpless, shooting 28 percent in the final 20 minutes.
“I don’t know if we just ran out of steam,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “We missed a lot of open shots. Sometimes when you start missing, it gets to your head, and you saw some guys pressing a little bit tonight.”
While Gafford was on the bench, Arkansas missed its first 14 shots to begin the second half.
“You can’t do that and beat any team,” Anderson said.
Sophomore guard Mason Jones was the only bright spot in an otherwise punchless offense. Scoring 30 points, he was the only Razorback to score in the double-digits. Mississippi State, on the other hand, had a much more balanced attack with four players scoring double figures. Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon put up a team-high 22 points and former Arkansas commit Reggie Perry had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Arkansas will hope to figure some things out before a tough test on the road at 7:30 p.m. against Auburn Wednesday night. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.