FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)—Thirty-two years later, Mississippi State found a way to win again at Arkansas.
The sixth-ranked Bulldogs jumped out to a big lead behind Winsome Frazier’s five 3-pointers and then held off a late charge by the Razorbacks with his four free throws for a 77-70 victory Saturday.
“When they started coming back, the basket gets bigger and bigger and their crowd commenced to yelling,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “I was very pleased with the way we played. I thought we controlled the game and we found a way to hold on at the end.”
Mississippi State (21-1, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) hadn’t won at Arkansas since 1972 and it was 0-12 there since the Razorbacks joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992, losing by an average of 17.8 points per game.
Arkansas (11-11, 3-8) sliced a 17-point deficit to 73-70, but Frazier, who had 23 points, hit four free throws in the final 1:32 to seal the victory.
“It was a very hostile environment and Arkansas played a great game,” Frazier said. “We played with tremendous effort tonight. This feels good because I have never won here and we wanted this. We just played with poise.”
The Bulldogs improved to 10-0 on the road—6-0 in league play—this season. They were three days removed from an overtime win at No. 25 South Carolina, in which three starters played more than 40 minutes.
Arkansas used a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 73-70 with 1:57 remaining. Olu Famutimi hit a field goal with 3:16 to go and after Timmy Bowers missed a 3-pointer, Jonathon Modica hit an 18-footer.
Eric Ferguson stole the ball from Bowers on the next possession and he hit Matt Jones for a potential dunk, but Bowers pulled him down and was called for an intentional foul. Michael Jones made both free throws shooting for Matt Jones, who had to leave the court because he had the wind knocked out of him, and then Modica hit a 3-pointer to end the spurt.
“We had our opportunities,” Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. “We cut a lead down that I’m not sure anybody thought we could.”
Arkansas then missed its last four shots, and Frazier, who made five of 10 3-pointers, hit his free throws to seal the game. Modica finished with a career-high 33 points, including 24 in the second half.
“(Modica) made some shots and we were tired,” Stansbury said. “But give him some credit, he made some deep shots and some big shots.”
Mississippi State’s Lawrence Roberts had his 13th double-double, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Shane Power added 17 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 58 percent from the field, and was 9-of-20 for 3-pointers.
“You try to key in on their top two guys and then all of the sudden Frazier goes off on you,” Heath said. “Power started making some plays. It’s a sign of a very good team. They are able to score at such a high rate.”
Arkansas fell behind early as Mississippi State made its first five 3-pointers, three by Frazier, to take a 27-14 lead with 11:12 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs made 10 of their first 14 overall and still led 29-20 after Ferguson’s 3-pointer capped a 7-2 Arkansas run with 9:41 left.
The score remained 29-20 for over 3:20 before the Bulldogs broke the lull with a 10-3 run, spurred by two baskets by Roberts, who shot 9-for-12 from the field. The 6-foot-9 forward made all four shots he took in the half.
“They came out guns blazing,” Heath said. “There was a lot of concern about stopping Roberts early so we were a step slow getting out on those guys. Once they did that, it stretched us out and allowed them to go inside.”
Arkansas responded with a 10-2 run, helped in part by two 35-second shot clock violations by Mississippi State. Ferguson and Ronnie Brewer each made 3-pointers to cap the run to trail 41-33 at halftime.