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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mississippi State found the going on the road tough Saturday night. The 15th-ranked Bulldogs dropped its Southeastern Conference opener, falling to Arkansas 98-88 at the Bud Walton Arena.
With the defeat, the Bulldogs fell to 13-3 overall and 0-1 in league play, while Arkansas improved to 12-3 and 1-0. The Razorbacks also won their conference debut under new coach Mike Anderson, while beating the Bulldogs here for the fifth time in seven seasons.


 ­“Arkansas was really good tonight and we weren’t,” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We did not have any answers defensively and that made it a long night. On the road it is hard to win in this league unless you have 40 minutes of effort. Now, we move on, put this one behind us and get ready to get back home.”


Arkansas held a lead for the final 35 minutes of the contest. The Razorbacks stretched a six-point halftime lead to 20 points on one occasion in the final half. The MSU comeback attempt was also stalled by 18 turnovers.
The Bulldogs were led by a career-high 25 points from DeVille Smith. A true freshman from Jackson, Smith hit 6-of-8 shots from the field and 10-of-11 shots from the free throw line in 18 minutes off the bench.


 “DeVille definitely provided a spark,” Stansbury said. “We did a lot things well on the offensive end but 18 turnovers is way too may. We didn’t do nearly a good enough job of handling their defensive pressure.”


The Razorbacks scored eight straight points to sprint out to an early 14-7 advantage. The lead remained seven at 17-10, 19-12 and 28-21. After MSU closed back to within five, the lead was pushed back out to 10 on a 3-pointer by UA’s Julysses Nobles.

The Bulldogs had few answers on the defensive and as the Razorbacks hit 16-of-34 first-half shot attempts and led 43-37 at the intermission.

Arkansas kept the pressure up in the second half and opened that stanza with a 12-4 run. A 3-pointer by B.J. Young pushed the advantage to 55-41 with 16:40 left in the contest.

Young and Nobles teamed up to be a two-man wrecking crew. Each dropped 24 points on the Bulldogs. Young hit 10-of-13 shots from the field, while Nobles was 7-of-11, with four 3-point baskets.  Young matched a season high, while Nobles set a season high.

The lead was pushed to 20 at 75-55 with 9:54 left. MSU had one last gasp, as the Bulldogs closed within 11 on a pair of Smith free throws. The Bulldogs then got the ball back but turned it over.

A layup by Dee Bost and 3-pointer from Smith brought the Maroon and White within eight in the closing half-minute.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 27 of 52 shots from the field (51.9 percent), 9 of 20 shots from 3-point range (45.0) and 25 of 31 shots from the foul line (80.6 percent). The Razorbacks hit 35 of 62 shots from the field (56.5 percent), 6 of 15 shots from 3-point range (40.0 percent) and 22 of 28 shots from the foul line (78.6 percent).
MSU held a 32-28 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had nine assists and 18 turnovers, while the Razorbacks had 22 assists and nine turnovers.


Bost added 21 points and Rodney Hood 17 points for the Bulldogs. Arnett Moultrie had a team-high 10 rebounds but fell a point shy of a double-double before fouling out with 6:17 left.


Arkansas had 12 points apiece from Michael Sanchez and Mardracus Wade, while Rashad Madden added 11.



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