STARKVILLE, Miss. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – 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.