Reggie Perry had 26 points and 13 rebounds and Mississippi State was money at the foul line in winning its third straight game, knocking off visiting Arkansas 77-70 on Wednesday night in Starkville, Miss.
It was the fifth 20-point game and 11th double-double this season for Perry, who at 6-foot-10 was four inches taller than every Arkansas starter. He used that size to get to the line early and often, making 14 of 15 free throws as MSU (12-6, 3-3 SEC) went 27 of 31 on foul shots — including 21 of 24 in the second half — compared to 6 of 11 for Arkansas with zero makes in the first 37 minutes.
D.J. Stewart Jr. (14 points) and Nick Weatherspoon (11) went a combined 11 of 13 from the line for MSU, which is hitting 79.8 percent of its free throws in SEC play.
Mississippi State used a late 9-0 run to lead 30-26 at halftime despite 30.3 percent shooting and lacking inside scoring. Even with a massive size advantage the Bulldogs were outscored 18-6 in the paint in the first 20 minutes.
Perry scored the Bulldogs’ first five points of the second half and eight of the first nine, helping his team build a 39-33 edge. The Razorbacks (14-4, 3-3) could never get closer than three, pulling within 51-48 on an Adrio Bailey layup with 8:30 left before MSU responded with a 9-2 run to retake control.
A 6-0 Arkansas run cut the deficit to 67-62 with 1:12 left but MSU made 10 of 10 free throws down the stretch.
Arkansas held MSU to 38.6-percent shooting but made only five steals and forced just nine turnovers, well below its season averages. And the Bulldogs hit 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range against a Razorback team that came in allowing an NCAA-best 23.5 percent from outside.
Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt Jr. had 20 points apiece for Arkansas, which has dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.
Both teams step out of conference play on Saturday for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, with Arkansas hosting TCU and Mississippi State facing Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.
—Field Level Media