Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury has always had an appreciation for the atmosphere in Bud Walton Arena. He hasn't always had the same adoration for his teams' results.
That's because those Bulldog teams were rarely able to accomplish what Stansbury's squad did Saturday night – leave Fayetteville with a victory.
"I told them in 11 years I've brought a lot more experienced teams up here than this team," Stansbury said. "I don't think I've ever brought a team up here that played in this building and kept their composure for 40 minutes like this team did."
Stansbury collected just his second win ever in Fayetteville and first since 2004. During that time, three ranked Mississippi State teams have fallen to unranked Arkansas teams.
"It's not easy (to win here) because this crowd will make you do a lot of bad things," Stansbury said.
"Winning at home is one thing. Winning on the road is completely different."
Mississippi State's recipe for success was simple: hit your shots and make Arkansas miss its shots. The Bulldogs did just that, hitting 25-of-56 from the field and holding the Razorbacks to a season-low 36 percent shooting, including just 3-of-22 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We were getting wide-open shots," Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh said. "Tonight was just one of those nights.
"It was looks that we've been getting all year that we've been knocking down. We just couldn't knock them down tonight."
Stansbury said one reason for Arkansas' struggles was his team sticking to its game plan.
"I've always said the two biggest things you've got to do on the road is defend and rebound," Stansbury said. "Those things are constant. This isn't the best defensive or rebounding team we've ever had, but I think we're finding other ways to offset some things."
One way Mississippi State was able to offset its size was shoot lights-out from 3-point range. The Bulldogs hit 11-of-27 treys on the night – the third time in as many games Mississippi State has hit more than 10 in that department.
Stansbury said beating an Arkansas team that had beaten Oklahoma and Texas in its previous two outings at home was big for his team.
"We know how difficult it is to come here and win," Stansbury said. "It's very obvious those couple of wins they came off of show how good Arkansas is. We probably caught them at not their best tonight and we probably didn't get their best shot.
"I thought the last 10 minutes we were the fresher team and the tougher team. I'm very proud of what these young men just accomplished."
With two games upcoming at Ole Miss and Florida, Arkansas freshman Rotnei Clarke said the team will need to put this loss behind quickly.
"Every loss is going to be disappointing to us," Clarke said. "I think the biggest key is going to be how we bounce back from it having two games on the road. That will say a lot about our team."
Welsh said the loss will help the youthful team.
"We know we're going to take every team's best shot just because of what we did in our non-conference schedule," Welsh said. "Everybody needs to remember that we still have six freshmen on this basketball team and this is their first SEC opener. Now that their feet are wet I think we'll be ready to go."
Stansbury breaks Bud Walton hex
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