Devo Davis

Arkansas junior guard Davonte Davis attempts to score during Saturday’s game against Mississippi State. Davis and the Razorbacks suffered their first loss since Jan. 28, falling 70-64 to the Bulldogs.

The Razorback men’s basketball team was unable to continue its torrid February pace Saturday evening, falling to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 70-64 in front of a sellout crowd inside Bud Walton Arena.

In a game in which freshman guard Nick Smith Jr. saw his first action in almost two months, the story of the game was the offensive performance by Mississippi State. Entering the contest, the Bulldogs were among the worst offensive teams in the country, ranking 290th in shooting percentage and sixth-worst in 3-point shooting percentage. That had very little bearing on today’s contest as the Bulldogs shot 47% from the floor — including 60% from behind the 3-point line.

“It was us defensively,” Arkansas freshman guard Anthony Black said. “You see the teams that we’ve played and held to fewer points and worse percentages, and you see them. They’re a good team, too, but you see teams with pros and we’re holding them to less points. That’s on us.”

Black was a force for the Razorbacks, scoring 23 points on 8-13 shooting with five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a blocked shot in the losing effort.

The Hogs came out hot, scoring the game’s first five points, but Mississippi State — which shot a blistering 51% in the first half — quickly responded with a 7-0 run. Arkansas took a 17-16 lead on a posterizing dunk by senior forward Jalen Graham, but the Bulldogs responded and led for the remainder of the first half, heading into the locker room with a 34-25 lead.

Mississippi State continued to build its lead to begin the second half. The Razorbacks could not buy a bucket the first five minutes of the period, eventually going down by as many as 16 points, facing a 47-31 deficit with 13:54 remaining in the contest.

The Razorbacks mounted a furious comeback over the remainder of the ballgame, cutting the Bulldog lead to as little as three points, but they could never get over the hump. Mississippi State continually fought off Arkansas momentum with timely buckets down the stretch, ultimately celebrating an unlikely victory over the hometown Hogs.

“I think when you get down 16, that’s a lot to overcome with a team that’s playing with confidence,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said. “And they’re certainly a team that’s playing with confidence. So, you know, 16 is a pretty big hole to dig yourself in.”

The Hogs will return to action at 8 p.m. Wednesday in College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M inside Reed Arena. Wednesday’s game will air nationally on ESPN2 and stream live on the ESPN app.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.