Hogs get Smith back, but get pushed down by Mississippi State
Star guard Nick Smith gets back in uniform for first time since December, but Hogs suffer ugly home loss.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas got Nick Smith Jr., back on the court but it wasn’t enough against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs came into Bud Walton Arena on Saturday night and proceeded to kick the Razorbacks around in a 70-64 win that shocked some people and others were just mad about it.
“They’re one of the best defensive teams in college basketball and they’re physical,” Hogs coach Eric Musselman said later. “And obviously, especially in the first half, and for some guys the entire game, their defense bothered guys.
“They do a good job when you put it on the floor of kind of swarming and we were unable to convert.”
He didn’t put all the blame on the offense.
“We had too many guys just not shoot a good enough percentage from the field and that cost us along with our overall defense,” Musselman said on his radio postgame.
The loss snapped the Hogs’ five-game SEC win streak.
Mississippi State led by 11 at halftime and pushed its advantage to 16 (43-37) with 15:56 left. However, Arkansas used an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to five (47-42) after a 3-pointer by Davonte Davis with 10:40 left.
The Bulldogs kept the Razorbacks at bay, pushing the lead back to 10 (58-48). Arkansas did not back down and got to within three (60-57) on a Davis fastbreak layup at the 1:22 mark. MSU’s Cameron Matthews went 4-of-4 at the line and converted his own miss for a layup to answer Arkansas’ points and give his team a seven-point lead with 44 ticks left.
Arkansas made a final push to trail by four after a Nick Smith Jr., jumper with 13 seconds left but Dashawn Davis connected on a pair of free throws with nine seconds left to provide the six-point win.
Davis led MSU with 17 points, followed by Shakeel Moore (12 points), Tolu Smith (11 points) and Cameron Smith (10 points).
Anthony Black paced the Razorbacks with 23 points – tying his SEC career high, with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Ricky Council IV had 13 points thanks to making 11-of-13 at the line.
Arkansas hits the road Wednesday (Feb. 15) to play at Texas A&M. Game time Is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 25, Mississippi State 34
• Arkansas scored first but Mississippi State led for 15:05.
• The Bulldogs owned a 20-12 advantage on the boards.
• Mississippi State shot 51.9% compared to 34.6% by the Razorbacks.
• Anthony Black scored 12 of the Hogs’ 25 points. Devo Davis has five of the team’s 12 boards.
SECOND HALF Arkansas 39, Mississippi State 36
• Arkansas shot 54.4% from the field in the second half and held MSU to 43.3%.
• Arkansas out-rebounded MSU 19 to 13, had four steals and four blocked shots.
• Black had 11 points, all five of his rebounds, four assists and two steals.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Anthony Black – Davonte Davis – Ricky Council – Makhel Mitchell – Makhi Mitchell for the fourth-straight time, fifth time overall.
• Arkansas won the tip.
• Arkansas’ Makhel Mitchell scored the first points, a layup at 19:37.
• Jordan Walsh was the first Razorback sub.
• This was just Arkansas’ second loss in its last 17 games in the month of February.
• Nick Smith Jr., returned to game action for the first time since the first half of the Bradley game (Dec. 17). He played 17:15 off the bench with five points.
• Davonte Davis had a streak of nine-straight games scoring in double figures snapped as he finished with seven points. However, he has scored double digits in 11 of his last 13.
• Despite the loss, Arkansas still leads the all-time series 35-33 overall and 23-9 in games played in Fayetteville.
• Ricky Council IV has scored in double figures in 23 of the Razorbacks’ 25 games this season.
Game notes and other information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.