ANOTHER LOSS FOR BULLDOGS
By Gene Phelps
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Two obvious things led to Mississippi State’s 80-68 Southeastern Conference loss Saturday to Arkansas.
One, senior guard Darryl Wilson was a stunning 0-for-10 from the field. It was the first time in his college career that he has gone without making a field goal.
Two, Arkansas killed the No. 21-ranked Bulldogs on the boards, outrebounding them 40 to 25. The Razorbacks had 17 offensive rebounds to Mississippi State’s five.
For a team that’s been struggling to keep its head above water the last week or so, it was just too much for the Bulldogs (11-4, 3-3 SEC) to take.
“When you look at the stats, I think it’s very obvious what the difference in the game was,” State coach Richard Williams said in his postgame press conference at Bud Walton Arena. “It was their ability to offensive rebound and our inability to keep them from offensive rebounding. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. They are a very athletic team.”
Wilson, State’s leading scorer this season (17.8 ppg), struggled to find an explanation for his shooting woes.
“I was getting perfect looks at the baskets,” he said. “My shots just weren’t falling.”
Arkansas’ freshman guard tandem of Kareem Reid and Pat Bradley had no trouble popping the net. Reid, a lightning quick point guard, scored 20 points. Bradley came off the bench to nail five 3-pointers and finish with 19 points.
The Razorbacks (10-6, 3-2) led 36-31 at halftime and maintained their lead the entire second half.
State got as close as two points, 42-40, on a steal and layup by Marcus Bullard with 17 minutes, 14 seconds remaining. Bradley quickly answered with one of his 3-pointers and the Bulldogs would get no closer.
Down the stretch, Arkansas was deadly from the free throw line. The Razorbacks hit on 20 of 23 freebies, including 15 of 16 in the last 10 minutes.
On the boards, Sunday Adebayo and Derek Hood had 10 rebounds apiece to lead the Razorbacks. In scoring Adebayo added 17 points and Hood had 10.
For the Bulldogs, Bullard scored 19, Erick Dampier 18 and Dontae’ Jones 15. Jones fouled out with 8:27 remaining in the second half.
Arkansas outscored the Bulldogs 20-7 in the last eight minutes of the first half to build its 36-31 halftime lead. Bradley and Adebayo keyed the run, scoring eight points each. During one five-minute stretch, Arkansas outscored State 16-0.
State had a run of its own earlier, outscoring the Razorbacks 14-4 to stake a 25-16 lead with 7:15 left. However, the Bulldogs struggled from the field the rest of the half, making just two field goals in the final eight minutes one a three-point play by Jones a the 7:58 mark and the other on a layup by Whit Hughes with five seconds left.