NCAA News Wire

Arkansas 65, Mississippi State 61

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Four players scored double digits for No. 18 Arkansas, which tallied 23 points off 23 turnovers as the Razorbacks snuck by Mississippi State 65-61 on Saturday.

Mississippi State (12-15, 5-9 SEC) led 51-46 after guard Fred Thomas hit a 3-pointer with about nine minutes left.

Arkansas (22-5, 11-3) then turned up the defensive pressure, forcing turnovers and retaking the lead at the five-minute mark, 56-54.

The Razorbacks expanded that lead to six on forward Bobby Portis’ dunk with under a minute left, but the Bulldogs made it interesting in the final 40 seconds.

Guard Craig Sword hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left and then found forward Roquez Johnson for a layup that cut the deficit to 60-59 with 26 seconds left.

But the Razorbacks hit five free throws to hold off the Bulldogs and claim the road win.

Guard Rashad Madden led Arkansas with 16 points, guard Michael Qualls scored 14, Portis had 13 points and nine rebounds, and guard Anton Beard scored 11.

Sword led MSU with 15 points, forward Gavin Ware scored 13 and guard Travis Daniels had 11.

After scoring just nine points in the first half of their earlier game against the Razorbacks, MSU came out with much more poise Saturday.

The Bulldogs held the momentum for a good portion of the first half as they jumped out to a 21-15 lead with nine minutes left.

MSU pushed the lead out to eight at the 7:26 mark, but the Razorbacks battled back and cut the deficit to 33-32 at halftime.

The Bulldogs got an added spark off the bench from freshman Demetrius Houston, who scored six points, and Ware worked the boards for seven rebounds and eight points.

NOTES: Mississippi State G Craig Sword has 140 career steals following his four-steal ball game Saturday. That ranks 10th in MSU history. … Though they’ve been criticized for performances away from Bud Walton Arena, the Razorbacks improved to 5-4 the road, including a 5-2 mark in SEC play. … The Bulldogs played without starting PG I.J. Ready, who was out with an ankle injury suffered against Ole Miss.