Mississippi State University came out strong the first half of the game against the University of Arkansas. They brought that same energy level into the second half, with a final score of 77-70.
Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said MSU was talented and his team would have had to play an almost perfect game to beat them.
“That’s a really, really talented team,” Musselman said. “We have to play near-flawless basketball to beat a team like that, and we did not.”
The first half started with the Bulldogs getting the tip-off and Nick Weatherspoon scoring the first three points of the game. Arkansas scored a three right after which brought them to the first tied score of the night.
This continued for the rest of the first half which was messy until the last five minutes. Rebounds for the Bulldogs exploded around the last five minutes, with Reggie Perry, a sophomore forward from Thomasville, Georgia, leading the team with a total of five rebounds by the end of the first half.
A dunk by Perry also elevated the energy of both the team and the fans. The Bulldogs were led in the first half by Perry who scored 12 points. The high energy continued throughout the rest of the half where the Bulldogs come out on top with a four-point lead 30-26.
Perry would continue in the second half by scoring the first two points. MSU carried a close lead over the Razorbacks throughout the second half.
The last 10 minutes of the game are explosive for the Bulldogs as Tyson Carter, a senior guard from Starkville, showed out for the Bulldogs in one of his last games as a senior by scoring 10 points.
With five minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs had a 10 point lead over Arkansas. The Razorbacks made a comeback, but it was not enough. During the last time out of the game with one minute and 12 seconds left, the Bulldogs remained ahead 67-62.
Robert Woodard II, with an assist from Weatherspoon, scored a dunk that served as the final push the team needed to take the win.
In the last minute of the game, the Razorbacks scored six points to the Bulldogs' eight points. These points were all scored from the free throw line where the Bulldogs played strong all night. Reggie Perry had the most free throws and ended up being 14 for 15 behind the line.
“It felt really good,” Perry said. “My confidence was up.”
Coach Howland spoke highly of all of the players during his interview after the game and talked about other upcoming games.
“It was a great team victory,” Howland said. “There’s no rest for the weary. We’re getting ready tomorrow to play the next one.”
The Bulldogs will go on the road this weekend to face Oklahoma University on Saturday in Oklahoma City after their three home game stretch. Nick Weatherspoon, a junior guard from Canton, said the team will just have to be strong defensively to win against OU.
“We’ve got to defend on the road the same way we do at home,” Weatherspoon said.