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Hogs answer the "Bell" in Starksville

Anthlon Bell scored a career high 19 points in win against the Bulldogs

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Behind three players in double figures,
including a career-high 19 points off the bench from sophomore Anthlon Bell, the Arkansas men’s basketball
team picked up its fifth win in the last six games with a 73-69 victory at
Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum.


The Razorbacks never trailed over the final 32:19 of the game and led by as
many as 15 in the second half en route to snapping a 12-game losing streak at
Humphrey Coliseum. With four regular season games remaining, Arkansas (18-9) is
part of a six-way tie for fifth place in the SEC at 7-7 that could become a
seven-way tie for fourth place depending on the outcome of Missouri at
Alabama.


Needing a hot start to pick up its second road win in the last three trips –
loss was a one-point defeat at Missouri – Arkansas came out on fire, hitting
five of its first six from the field, including four from three-point range to
take a 14-8 lead before the first media timeout. 


Mississippi State took the lead back for a 21-second span and Arkansas held a
slim 23-21 edge with 9:45 left in the first half before Bell burst onto the
scene with 10 straight points for the Razorbacks to push the lead to 35-24.
Bell’s 10 points came over a span of 1:59, as he had 12 points by the
under-eight media timeout after going the first 13 SEC games without reaching
double figures. 


The Bulldogs cut the Arkansas advantage to one, 39-38, early in the second
half but could never take the lead as a 13-3 run midway through the period gave
the visitors a commanding 70-56 lead. Fittingly, Bell had seven of the points
during the run, but it was highlighted by a steal and dunk in transition by
6-foot-10 freshman Moses Kingsley in front of a large group of
family and friends.


Arkansas’ lead dwindled down to five, 73-68, with 2:28 remaining, but it was
able to limit the Bulldogs to just three possessions the rest of the way due a
big offensive rebound by senior Coty Clarke with 1:32 left to secure the
win. 


Though Bell’s team-high 19 points off the bench were a huge boost, Clarke put
together another solid all-around game with nine rebounds and a career-high
seven assists, which is the most by a Razorback this season. Sophomore Michael Qualls extended his double figure
scoring streak to an SEC career-long five games with 15 points, while freshman
Bobby Portis continued his steady play in
the middle with 13 points, seven boards, three blocks and two steals.


Four players reached double-digits for Mississippi State (13-14, 3-11),
including leading scorer Craig Sword who was held to 10 points after a
career-high 33 last time out at LSU. 


Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
After going his last 12 games
without reaching double figures, Bell put that streak to a rest by scoring 12
points by the under-eight media timeout in the first half that included 10
straight. After missing three of his first four shots, Bell hit a mid-range
jumper and then got a layup before hitting back-to-back threes for 10 points in
a span of 1:59. Bell’s 19 points came in 17 turnover-free minutes.


Key(s) To The Contest
Facing a Mississippi State club
with a short bench, Arkansas needed to utilize its depth to pick up the critical
road win. The Razorbacks did just that, coming away with 12 steals that turned
into 19 points, but more importantly used fresh legs in the second half to stop
the Bulldogs after they had trimmed the Arkansas lead to just 39-38. All 13
points during the 13-3 run midway through the second half came from the bench
led by seven of Bell’s career-high 19 points. 

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