Mississippi State 86, Arkansas 77

Dee Bost has a career-high 25 points and hits 6 of his team's school-record 16 3-pointers as Mississippi State rallies past Arkansas 86-77 Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The University of Arkansas threw a tremendous 51-point first half at Mississippi State.

But the Bulldogs threw the record book back at the Razorbacks after intermission.

Dee Bost had a career-high 25 points and 6 of his team's school record 16 3-pointers as Mississippi State wiped out a 15-point deficit and whipped Arkansas 86-77 Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum.

"We were there and challenging them, but they were just better in the second half than we were," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "…We did not make as many (shots) in the second half – that is accurate – and we had some tough sledding around the basket and everywhere else. We did not perform as well in the second half as we did in the first."

Barry Stewart added 21 of his 22 points after the break for the Bulldogs (16-7, 6-2, while Phil Turner had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Jarvis Vanardo 12 points, 7 8 rebounds and 7 blocks for Mississippi State, who won at Kentucky on Tuesday night.

"You have got to give credit to Mississippi State," Pelphrey said. "They did some great things in that second half in terms of making shots and it was from more than just one guy. It wasn't like one guy won this basketball game for them. They got it from across the board."

Mississippi State hit 16-of-29 3-pointers on an afternoon while Arkansas (13-8, 1-7) was certainly better than it has been lately by going 12-of-25 from beyond the arc.

Arkansas shot 62 percent from the field in the opening half – 66 percent from 3-point range – but went cold in the second half.

"In the second half, we follow that up with 30 and 30," Pelphrey said. "When that happens, your defense has got to be outstanding and ours was not good enough to slow them up to get us a victory."

All 5 Razorback starters scored in double figures with Courtney Fortson leading the way with 19 points and 7 assists, Michael Washington and Stefan Welsh adding 14 points, Rotnei Clarke 12 and Jason Henry 10.

Washington and Michael Sanchez led the way on the boards with 7 rebounds as the Bulldogs completed a season sweep of the Razorbacks, who have now lost 9 straight at Starkville.

Mississippi State rallied to win the game by scoring 13 of the second half's first 15 points and then unloading a 17-2 run to take a 74-67 lead.

"They played really well and that is the reason that are one game of out of first place and will challenge for that (the SEC Western Division title)."

When Bost buried a 3-pointer to cap that initial second half surge, the Razorbacks' lead was down to 53-49 with 16:17 left.

Fortson's lay-up – his last points of the game - made it 65-57 with 11:27 left in the game.

But by the time Riley Benock knocked down a 3-pointer to punctuate a 12-1 run, the Bulldogs had a 69-66 lead – their first of the game.

That run reached 17-2 when Benock buried another triple to send the home team ahead 74-67 with 6:48 left in the game.

The Razorbacks – who have lost 7 of their last 8 games - could get no closer than 2 points the rest of the way.

Fortson had 15 of his points in the first half as Arkansas raced out to a 51-36 lead at the break – an advantage that matched its largest margin to that point in the game.

Fortson, who had one point had missed 18 3-pointers in a row, hit his last 2 in Thursday night's loss to Tennessee and then his first two in Saturday's game.

Arkansas, who jumped out to a 20-9 lead to open the game, finished the first half on 8-2 run after seeing Mississippi State closed its deficit to single digits.

That included two Washington free throws, a 3-pointer from Henry and the final three points coming from Fortson.

One big difference for the Razorbacks in the first half from their earlier SEC games was outscoring the Bulldogs 14-0 on fast-break points.

"We knew the game wasn't over," Pelphrey said. "It's not a 20-minute game, it's a 40-minute one. We knew those guys were going to come out and be aggressive.

"By the first TV timeout, they had outscored us by 11," Pelphrey said. "We hung in there and got it back up to 8 or 9 a couple of times, but it just wasn't meant to be."

Arkansas returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Auburn.

"We are going to go back home, regroup and see what we can figure out here," Pelphrey said. "That (an SEC road win) is something that we are really working hard for and is something important to us. We want to win a game on the road."

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