When you've got the long ball falling, you don't need much else, and that was working for the Razorbacks on Saturday against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs came into the game among the nation's leaders in three-point defense, allowing opponents to connect on just 30% of their three balls, but they'll leave Fayetteville with an ugly dent in that record. Dusty Hannahs and Anthlon Bell combined for 51 points mostly off 13 threes. Anytime Mississippi State made a run, one or both of those guys hit a couple of shots to keep the Hogs ahead. The Hogs made 16 of 24 threes overall, good for 66.7%.
Arkansas had to hold off a few big runs. The Hogs had a 14 point lead with 15 minutes left, but the Bulldogs cut it to three with a little over five minutes to go, but Arkansas finished the game on a 20-9 run including five three pointers to finish the game with a 14-point victory. That's 20 points in the last five minutes of the game. And the game wasn't slowed down to shoot free throws. Only one of Arkansas' 20 points in that span was a free throw.
Jabril Durham had another huge game. He had 12 assists, meaning half of Arkansas' shots - not counting the four he made himself - were assisted by Durham. He added 10 points, six steals, and four rebounds to go with it. Excellent overall performance. Mike Anderson is a big fan of scoring off assists as opposed to isolated buckets, so this was really fun for him to watch.
The Hogs needed a big game from the guards because Moses Kingsley struggled to going against the Bulldogs. He only scored two points in the first half - both from free throws - and finished with 13. It's pretty amazing that 13 points is an off night for Kingsley now, but that's where he is. He also had eight rebounds and four blocks.
Defensively, Arkansas has been continuing to get better. The Razorbacks held Mississippi State's 5-star super freshman Malik Newman to just nine points, the first time he's been in single digits in over a month. Anderson said after the game they put an emphasis on him defensively and it paid off. Their 37.5% field goal percentage was their second-lowest of the season.
This game was all starters for the Hogs. All five of them played over 20 minutes. The bench only pitched in five points. But when Arkansas is on fire like they were against Mississippi State, that's pretty much all they'll need.
So, the Razorbacks are back over .500 for the season and for SEC play. The Hogs really need a road win this season and they'll have possibly their best chance in their next game. They travel to Columbia to take on Missouri on Tuesday.