Post Paints The Picture

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Arkansas center Darian Townes froze on the court for a few seconds, shook his head in disbelief and slowly walked to the visitors' bench in the second half of the Razorbacks' 80-55 loss at Mississippi State.

He couldn't believe he fouled out of Saturday's game with 13:50 left.

"The last time I fouled out was like back in (recreation) ball," Townes said. "That was a big shock to me."

But it perfectly summed up the afternoon for Arkansas' young frontcourt.

Arkansas, which boasts three true freshmen and junior Rashard Sullivan in its frontcourt, was manhandled in the post by Mississippi State's senior tandem of All-American forward Lawrence Roberts and Marcus Campbell. The Bulldogs' experienced players backed into the paint with ease, drew fouls, attacked the glass and finished with a combined 32 points and 14 rebounds on 11 of 17 shooting.

Townes, Sullivan, forward Charles Thomas and center Steven Hill combined to score 12 points, grab 13 rebounds and commit 13 fouls for the Hogs.

"They took it to us," said Hill, who finished with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes. "We never really came out ready to play and they came out real intense.

"They had a job to do. Unfortunately, us post players, me especially, weren't ready to play for whatever reason."

The Razorbacks knew they would have their hands full with Roberts, who entered the game leading the SEC in rebounding (11.6) and was second in scoring (19 points). But Thomas said the 7-foot, 270-pound Campbell was more than they expected and was responsible for the Bulldogs' fast start.

The senior, who entered the game averaging 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds, bulled his way to seven points in the first seven minutes. Campbell got position deep in the post, was active on the glass and scored nine of Mississippi State's first 16 points.

"I know they have a great player on the inside with Lawrence Roberts," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "He is a tremendous player. The guy who really stepped up more than I have seen him play all year is Marcus Campbell."

Said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury: "That is all we ask of Marcus Campbell -- play hard and with energy. When he does those two things, everything improves."

Arkansas was outrebounded 20-10 in the first half and had no answer for the Roberts-Campbell combination.

Townes scored four points in the first half and gave Arkansas an offensive boost off the bench after the Hogs fell behind 21-2. But he picked up three fouls in nine first-half minutes, struggled with Campbell and Roberts on the offensive end and fouled out after playing 13 minutes.

"It didn't help that Darian Townes picked up so many fouls so quickly," Heath said. "He's been playing well for us the last few games. What happened to our basketball team is that we had no inside game. Without Townes, that really showed."

Townes, Thomas and Hill said the loss wasn't a positive experience, but believe it'll serve as another lesson learned in their maturation process.

The trio agreed they better wipe away the frustrations and make adjustments quickly. Arkansas will have to deal with LSU forward Brandon Bass on Wednesday.

"There's some experience there they've got on us," Hill said. "But when it gets down to it, we've got to be fast learners because there's no night off. Night in and night out you're playing against veterans.

"We've got to learn quick because we've got a lot more games left."

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