By ANDREW EPPERSON , Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 22 points and the Mississippi State defense shut down Arkansas in the second half for a 77-67 win Saturday night.
After trailing 38-32 at the half with seemingly no answer for Arkansas’ 3-point shooting, the Bulldogs (18-7, 6-6 SEC) played inspired defense after the break that culminated in a 23-1 run over an 8:20 span. During that run, the Razorbacks (14-11, 5-7) committed five turnovers, six fouls and missed 13 field-goal attempts.
By the time Mason Jones stopped the run, converting a 3-point play at the 11:33 mark, the Razorbacks trailed 55-44. Any momentum from the play was immediately nixed when Tyson Carter hit a jumper on the other end to push his team’s lead back to 13.
The Razorbacks had 10 turnovers in the first half alone, nearly eclipsing their average of 12.8 per game over their last six contests. Their 10 turnovers in the second half were more crippling, however, as many came immediately after transition-starting defensive stops.
The Bulldogs’ well-rounded scoring effort included double-digit performances from Weatherspoon, Carter (18), Reggie Perry (12) and Robert Woodard II (10).
Jones scored 30 points for Arkansas. No other Razorbacks player scored in double figures.
Mississippi State: In the hours leading up to the game, Mississippi State announced via press release that starting shooting guard Nick Weatherspoon was indefinitely suspended for a rules violation. The sophomore is Mississippi State’s fourth-leading scorer this season with 11 double-digit scoring games. In Weatherspoon’s absence, the Bulldogs turned to Carter, whose 18 points were a season high.
Arkansas: Daniel Gafford had a rough game after scoring 20-plus points in three of his previous four games. He was thoroughly bothered by Mississippi State’s low-post size, including Perry’s aggressive defense throughout the contest. He finished with eight points and 11 rebounds. Perry was formerly committed to Arkansas when he was a five-star prospect, but he ultimately enrolled at Mississippi State. The Hogs dropped to 2-3 in February, which is uncharacteristic of Mike Anderson’s teams. The loss drops the coach’s record in February to 38-23 in eight seasons.
The Bulldogs continue their two-game road trip at Georgia on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks travel to Auburn on Wednesday.