Sophomore forward Sasha Goforth scored a season-high 20 points as Arkansas ended its four-game losing streak Sunday with an 87-79 win over Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville.
With the win, Arkansas secured a spot as the No. 8 seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament starting Thursday.
The teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter with neither squad able to gain much separation. At the end of the first quarter, Mississippi State held a slim 17-16 lead.
After a back-and-forth battle for much of the second quarter, the Razorbacks closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 44-39 lead into the break. Goforth was brilliant in the quarter, scoring 10 points — including 2-2 from behind the 3-point arc — with two assists and a rebound.
“She (Goforth) played 40 minutes, obviously we needed her for a lot of things,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors said. “She was unbelievable on both sides of the ball.”
The Bulldogs were able to close the gap in the third and held a one-point lead with just over five minutes to play in the quarter. From there, the Razorbacks got going offensively the rest of the frame and took a 61-56 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Arkansas came out hot to start the fourth and opened up a 68-58 lead with just over eight minutes to play in the ballgame. The Bulldogs battled back, cutting the Razorback lead to five with 5:03 to play. From there, the two squads traded baskets, and Mississippi State could get no closer than five the rest of the way.
Arkansas made some big free throws down the stretch to end a string of tough losses and close out the regular season with a victory.
“Our team stayed together and answered the challenge no matter what it was,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors said following the game. “I’m glad we got the win.”
The Hogs will take on the SEC’s No. 9 seed, Missouri, at noon Thursday in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
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