Heath, Arkansas Lose It In "The Hump"

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath lost it on Saturday against No. 11 Mississippi State.

He lost his jacket at halftime, he lost his temper several times in the first half and the continuation of Arkansas' road futility culminated at the 10:43 mark of the second half when Heath appeared to lose his mind with the Razorbacks trailing 59-36.

Furious about an offensive call against Dontell Jefferson, Heath stalked to halfcourt, got in official Eli Roe's face and punched his right fist into his left palm in the direction of Roe's head after he turned to walk away from the apoplectic Heath, who called the officiating a "charade" and "a joke" after the game.

Heath earned his second technical foul of the season, could have earned an ejection and Arkansas earned every bit of its 80-55 mauling at the hands of the Bulldogs (15-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) before 9,636 at Humphrey Coliseum.

Arkansas' road losing streak in the SEC reached 11 games in embarrassing fashion.

Rather than a team on the rise as it appeared after its 69-46 defeat of Ole Miss on Jan. 5, the Razorbacks (13-4, 1-3) often looked no different than they did during Heath's first two seasons when they were regularly dominated in all phases of the game.

Mississippi State jumped on Arkansas 21-2 in the first eight minutes and started the second half on a 12-3 run to finish off the Razorbacks.

"We threw the first punch and didn't let up," said Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury. "We did that at the start of both halves where it's so important. It was a great team effort."

Playing without senior and second-leading scorer Winsome Frazier, the Bulldogs outrebounded Arkansas 39-37 (20-10 in the first half) and held the Razorbacks to 30.4 percent shooting (21 of 69) while making 48 percent (24 of 50) of their own.

After it was all over, Heath didn't back down from his repeated exchanges with the officials and in particular Roe, the youngest member of the Bruce Benedict's three-man crew.

"At some point in time, you have to stand your ground," Heath said. "Sometimes it just becomes a joke and you have to stand your ground. So if it's just going to be a charade game going on here, then I'm not going to just stand here and take it."

Mississippi State shot 30 of 39 from the foul line while Arkansas was 7 of 12, but the Razorbacks also shot 26 3-pointers to the Bulldogs' 12.

"You're going to go on the road and face the sixth man in the crowd and obviously you're not going to get the majority of the calls," Heath said. "I just wanted to make sure my team knew, ‘Don't you get distracted with the officiating. Let me handle that.'

"Hey, 39-12 speaks for itself. It just speaks for itself. I know there were a couple veterans out there, but there was a rookie, too. That was a little disappointing, a little bit of a disparity."

Heath didn't put all the blame on the officials and spread it liberally throughout his team.

"I'm real disappointed in our performance today," he said. "We're a much better team than how we played. Mississippi State pretty much outplayed us in every phase of the game.

"They did what they wanted and I'm disappointed. Our team has to get a lot tougher mentally. A lot tougher physically."

Leading scorer Ronnie Brewer was 3 of 10 from the field with a season-low 7 points, junior Eric Ferguson was 2 of 12 and 0 of 5 from the 3-point line and sophomore Olu Famutimi was 2 of 9 and 1 of 5 from outside.

"Some of my better players that make plays, that make things happen, we need those guys to be ready on the road," Heath said.

Jonathon Modica was the only Razorback in double figures with 14 off the bench on 4 of 11 shooting. Freshman center Darian Townes fouled out in just 13 minutes of action with 4 points and 3 rebounds.

Mississippi State senior forward Lawrence Roberts had his ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Senior center Marcus Campbell added 15 on 6 of 7 shooting and Ontario Harper came off the bench for 12 points.

The flaws Arkansas showed through its first three SEC games became glaring in the first eight minutes against Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-2 lead by making seldom-effective 7-foot center Campbell look like an All-American for the second straight season.

Mississippi State grabbed nine of the first 11 rebounds and Campbell scored five of his nine first-half points before Arkansas could be saved by the first media timeout.

Heath called a timeout, Modica shot a wild shot off the backboard out of bounds and the burgeoning rout continued.

Roberts drove from the wing to the basket for two, Campbell collected an offensive rebound and scored consecutive baskets.

Meanwhile, Arkansas was turning it over on three straight possessions.

Brewer threw it out of bounds from the baseline on an inbounds play, Charles Thomas traveled, then got trapped and stepped on the sideline on Arkansas' next possession.

Arkansas showed signs of trying to run halfcourt offense, but the Hogs couldn't stop the bleeding.

Famutimi fired up one of his seven long missed jumpers, Ferguson missed a layup and Modica threw it away trying to feed Steven Hill, who had turned away from Modica well before the pass.

If not for a breakdown when Bulldogs point guard Gary Ervin deflected the ball and it ended up in Brewer's hands for an easy layup, Arkansas wouldn't have scored for the first nine minutes when Darian Townes hit a turnaround jumper to make it 21-4 with 11:08 to play.

Arkansas' road gets no easier this Wednesday when it travels to Baton Rouge to play LSU with the goal of stopping their conference slide.

"We're going to get back after it and regroup because we're a much better basketball team than we played," Heath said.

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