Arkansas 96, Mississippi State 70

Marshawn Powell

Marshawn Powell's electrifying dunk didn't even count on Wednesday night, but he poured in 17 points and BJ Young and Coty Clarke both added 13 off the bench as Arkansas forced a season-high 29 Mississippi State turnovers and routed the Bulldogs 96-70 before 9,072 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

The most electrifying moment in Wednesday night's game came when Arkansas redshirt junior forward Marshawn Powell got loose on the fast break and violently posterized Mississippi State forward Tyson Cunningham with a vicious dunk.

Powell was called for a charge, but it didn't matter to him, his teammates or the 9,072 fans on hand at Bud Walton Arena that went bonkers after the play.

It was an emphatic way of the oft-injured Powell saying 'I'm fully back" in a game where he a team-high 17 points as the Razorbacks hammered the Bulldogs 96-70 in a game that was not really as close as the final score would indicate.

"I haven't seen him do anything like that since he's been here," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "It was good to see. He felt good about it. When you are moving that ball and in tune with it, a lot of good things can happen. He was excited about it. He told me about it after the game. He's having fun out there."



B.J. Young and Coty Clarke both added 13 points, Jacorey Williams 10 and Anthlon Bell nine as those four guys came off the bench on a nigt when the Razorbacks (12-6, 3-2) had 42 points off the Bulldogs' season-high 29 turnovers.

Anderson started Rashad Madden (4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) in place of Young, the team's leading scorer at 17.2 points per game and someone who had started the previous 17 games this season.

"I have some guys I want to see what takes place when they start and give a guy like Ky an opportunity to see what he can bring to the table," Anderson said. "That was my thought, giving it to some other guys. I always say I have got 7 or 8 starters and Ky is one of those starters. So today BJ just came off the bench."

The Razorbacks, who shot 49.1 percent from the field and had 27 assists on Wednesday night, raced out to a 14-3 lead to open the game.

"We started a different group and they really set the tone," Anderson said. Rickey (Scott), Ky Madden, and Fred (Gulley) and of course Marshawn and Hunter (Mickelson). Very active. They were unselfish on defense. When dribble penetrating was taking place those guys were rotating and being active. Cutting off the dribble penetration, getting out to the shooters and rebounding the ball and they shared the ball on the other end.

"So offensively they were unselfish and defensively they were unselfish," Anderson said. "I thought that was a big difference. I thought our intensity remained throughout the game. It was good to see all that come together for our guys."

Arkansas scored 42 points off of Mississippi State's season 29 turnovers while having 14 steals and a season-high 11 blocks – three of which were swatted away by Hunter Mickelson.

"Our pressure defense created a lot of havoc," Anderson said. "We got a lot of easy opportunities from our defense whether it be in half court, full court - right there in the second half especially. Those turnovers we got right there led to dunks or layups because of the fatigue factor. I thought fatigue was a big factor in this game."

Gulley (5 points, 5 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers in 21 minutes) lauded his team's play in its eighth win in its last 10 games and a victory that moved Arkansas into a fourth-place tie with Kentucky and Missouri in the league standings.

"We played our style of play," Gulley said. "We sped them up and kind of had them play into our hands. We converted on a lot of steals, and we finished it. It was was exciting. We played exciting basketball tonight."

Mississippi State (7-10, 2-3) – down to just seven healthy scholarship players and playing just nine players – was undone by the turnovers according to first-year head coach Rick Ray.

It's the 29 turnovers," Ray said. "The points were obviously a result off of the turnovers. The 29 turnovers are just a ridiculous amount of turnovers.

"It is always concerning," Ray added of the miscues. "We are last in the SEC in assist-to-turnover margin and we are like in the bottom 10 in the nation as far as assist-to-turnover margin. It's a concern when we play anybody, but especially a team like Arkansas that pressures and presses."

Arkansas led by 14 points in the opening half before settling for a 42-33 halftime lead.

The Razorbacks then completely blew the game open in the second half with a 16-0 run that turned a 59-47 one into a 75-47 one and was capped by a 3-pointer by Bell, who was 3-of-5 from 3-point range on the night.

"It's exciting basketball," Clarke said. " It's what the fans came to see. I think we just did a great job of getting the ball ahead and making the assist that leads to the actual assist. Coach likes to call them singles that lead to the assists. I just like to think we played together. This is what we're supposed to do. This is how this team is built to move the ball and share the ball and play exciting basketball. And we know that's what you guys love to see ... We had to do our job tonight, and that's what it came to."

Clarke said he could see the run coming against the short-handed Bulldogs, who have lost three straight after opening SEC play with a pair of victories.

"We saw them getting tired," Clarke said. "We knew coming in they were only going to play eight players. Coach always speaks about our depth, so we had to apply the pressure. We were going to pick' em up and wear them out."

Clarke, Bell and Mardrcus Wade (5 points, 5 steals) had all of the Razorbacks' points during that spree.

"We moved it and shared the basketball and didn't hold on to it," Anderson said. "Sometimes we have a tendency to hold on to it and a lot of times when you get tired that's what happens. Our guys were really engaged making the extra pass. They set the tone. When you see guys having fun and sharing the basketball and defensively digging in, hopefully this is something we will see more often.

"When you designate that you only have a couple of guys that can score it's easy for people to scout you and play against you," Anderson added. "But when you have multiple guys who can move the ball and are in attack mode then people have to figure out who to stop. We have guys coming off the bench that can give you big lifts in scoring and defense as well."

Arkansas, now 12-1 at home this season, will now try to go out and win its first road game when it faces South Carolina at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"If we can have that same mind-set on offense and the same mind-set on defense, that is trusting one another, we are going in the right direction," Anderson said. "Hopefully we will see more of it and get more consistent at it."

Photos by Marc F. Henning





Marshawn Powell posterizes Tyson Cunningham, ho clearly did not see the dunk but did draw a charge.





BJ Young came off the bench and scored 13 points on Wednesday night.





Several MississippiState defenders look on as Hunter Mickelson rises for an easy two points on a night when he had four points, six rebounds and three of his team's season-high 11 blocks.



Freshman Anthlon Bell follows through on one of the trio of 3-pointers he knocked down on Wednesday night.





Kikko Haydar bombs away from the corner.





Mardracus Wade (five steals) and JaCOrey Williams (10 points) apply pressure.





Williams goes after a block.





Arkansas starting point guard Fred Gulley had five points, five assists, two steals and no turnovers.





Coty C;larke works inside for two of his 13 points.





Rickey Scott attacks the basket.





Michael Qualls flies in from the baseline for a jam.





Mike Anderson's team has now won 8 of its last 10 games.





First-year MSU head coach Rick Ray watched his team have a season-high 29 turnovers.

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