It was a violent collapse and it may be awhile before the total damage is assessed.
Ravern Johnson had 25 points and Kodi Augustus had 21 of his 23 points in the second half as Mississippi State rallied past Arkansas 88-78 Wednesday night before 10,253 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"It's tough and obviously we are disappointed," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "With our game here first and foremost, it's Senior Night, it's in our building –all that stuff. It just goes to show you how close the margin is between winning and losing is."
Arkansas (18-11, 7-8) not only lost a chance to send three seniors out on a winning note, but let a bye in the SEC Tournament slip through it's fingers.
The Razorbacks – who let leads of eight and six points slip away in the second half - could have clinched that spot with a combination of a win over the Bulldogs and the Tigers rallying from 20 points down to beat the Rebels.
Instead, Mississippi State (16-13, 8-7) clinches the second seed and Arkansas plays at Ole Miss on Saturday with the third and fourth place Western Division seeds up for grabs.
That obviously pleased Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury, whose team has notched road wins over Tennessee and Arkansas after losing to cellar dwellers Auburn and LSU.
"It's the first time that we've come up here in a long, long time where I felt like Arkansas was playing for something, too," Stansbury said. "Tonight they were playing for something just like we were."
It was the most points the Bulldogs have ever scored in Fayetteville in either Barnhill or Bud Walton arenas and a very pleasing thing to Stansbury.
"Arkansas has been really good at home," Stansbury said. "Tonight, we played with another level of confidence. Kodi was a warrior tonight, offensively and defensively. As a team on the road, you have to make more free throws than the other team attempts and we did that.
"It was a great team effort," Stansbury added. "We really couldn't have had a better defensive effort down the stretch. This team has stayed together, kept fighting and found a way tonight to do some things that we haven't been able to do consistently this year."
Clarke had 24 points to lead Arkansas while Marshawn Powell added 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
Seniors Delvon Johnson (11 points), Marcus Britt (10 points) and Jemal Farmer (9 points) all played in their last regularly scheduled home game.
The Razorbacks lost despite shooting 45 percent from the field, knocking down 11 of 22 3-pointers and hitting 15-of-20 free throws.
"Offensively, we had almost five guys in double figures, but we couldn't guard them well enough overall," Pelphrey said.
The Bulldogs hit nearly 50 percent of their field goals, hit nine 3-pointers, hit 21-of-26 free throws and won the board battle 33-30.
"It was a great team effort," Stansbury said.
With the scored tied 60-60 with 8:48 left in the game, the Bulldogs dropped in two straight 3-pointers to sprint away on a 13-3 run that essentially put the game away.
"It's a tight game and we have a couple of unforced turnovers and it leads to threes," Pelphrey said.
It came during a stretch where Mississippi State was scoring on 10 straight possessions and 16 of 18 at one point after falling down 51-45.
"We had a chance in the second half to fold, got down eight or nine," Stansbury said. "On the road, on senior night, against a tough team, a tough environment, it would have been very easy to cave in and our guys didn't do that."
Arkansas, on the other hand, coughed up the ball 12 times on the night – 10 coming in the second half - while Mississippi State had just one turnover after halftime and just eight total.
"The difference in the game was our 10 turnovers in the second half and they got 10 offensive rebounds as well," Pelphrey said. "That is where that game was swung."
In fact, three of those turnovers brought Mississippi State from down 60-58 into a 66-60 lead.
"I think when it was a tie game at 60-all, we had three tough plays in a row and it led to eight points," Pelphrey said. "That was kind of the separation in the game."
Renardo Sidney added 14 points for the visitors while noted Razorback killer Dee Bost had just 9 points and was forced into 5 turnovers with only 3 assists.
That was offset by Augustus, who tried to commit to former Arkansas head coach Stan Heath but was rebuffed.
"If you had told me Dee Bost would only get nine points and he would have more turnovers than assists, you would think you would be in pretty good shape," Pelphrey said.
"But you have to give credit to Mississippi State's team," Pelphrey added. "Those guys made some shots. Johnson got it going the first half…and then I thought Augustus had a really good second half."
Arkansas senior guard Marcus Britt scores over Renardo Sidney as Kodi Augustus looks on.
Delvon Johnson had 11 points in what could be his last appearance at Bud Walton Arena and scores here in between Augustus (24) and Sidney.
Jemal Farmer, another one of the Razorbacks' three seniors, had nine points and gets to the basket here against Riley Benock as Marshawn Powell and Augustus prepare for a possible rebound.
Rotnei Clarke lets fly a 3-pointer on a night when he had a team-high 24 points.
John Pelphrey yells direction to his players.