Mississippi St 57

(21-8, 9-6 SEC)

Arkansas 55

(18-10, 6-9 SEC)

    7:05 PM ET, March 1, 2005

    Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas

    1 2 T
    MSST 33 2457
    ARK 24 3155

    Top Performers

    Mississippi St: L. Roberts 13 Pts, 10 Reb

    Arkansas: E. Ferguson 10 Pts, 1 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Arkansas' second half rally falls short

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- A 5-11 guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., provided the winning edge Tuesday night in a 57-55 victory by Mississippi State over Arkansas.

    Gary Ervin scored just 4 points, but they were the last points scored by the Bulldogs as they came back from a momentum-swinging surge by Arkansas in the first few minutes of the second half.

    "He has just enough Brooklyn in him," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "I felt comfortable with him in the game."

    Ervin hit a three-pointer with 1:08 left to give the Bulldogs (21-8, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) a 56-52 lead.

    "You've got to have confidence to do what you do," Ervin said. "I was really pumped up."

    Arkansas got within one when Jonathon Modica hit a 3-pointer, but Ervin widened the gap -- and provided the final margin -- by making a free throw with 17.1 seconds left.

    A desperation heave by Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer on the Razorbacks' final possession fell short.

    With 4:13 remaining, Lawrence Roberts, who had a team-high 13 points and 10 rebounds, tied the game at 53 points each on a 3-point play and then later hit a free throw to give the Bulldogs a 53-52 advantage.

    The win was important for the Bulldogs as they try to make a case for an NCAA Tournament berth.

    "We [usually] don't think about the NCAA Tournament," Stansbury said. "This is the first time we talked about it. We had to create some urgency."

    Mississippi State, which led 33-24 at intermission, fell behind less than four minutes into the final period. Arkansas (18-10, 6-9), which hit only 34 percent of its shots in the game, got hot early in the half and erased a nine-point deficit.

    After Brewer scored his first 5 points of the game, Arkansas guard Olu Famutimi broke up a pass at midcourt and rattled home a fast-break dunk to give the Razorbacks a 38-36 lead their first since the 10:40 mark of the first half.

    The Razorbacks built the lead to 48-43, with 9:35 left in the game. But Mississippi State responded.

    "The team has five seniors on the court," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "They were going to give us their best shot."

    The loss likely knocked Arkansas out of the running for an NCAA Tournament bid, unless the Razorbacks win the SEC tournament next week to earn the league's automatic invitation.

    "It was real frustrating," Brewer said. "We let our destiny slip through our hands."

    In the opening 20 minutes, Mississippi State's defense allowed Arkansas to make just 26 percent of its shots from the field. The Razorbacks did not make their first field goal until 3:56 into the game when freshman center Darian Townes, who scored a team-high 13 points, hit a 15-foot jump shot.

    The Bulldogs, meanwhile, held Brewer -- who leads Arkansas with an average of 16.4 points per game -- scoreless for the entire half, and shut down the Razorbacks' perimeter offense. Arkansas missed all eight of its 3-pointers in the opening period.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 57 55
    FG Made-Attempted 21-60 (.350) 20-59 (.339)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-21 (.381) 5-19 (.263)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-12 (.583) 10-14 (.714)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 11 6

    2004-05 Season

    Jan 15, 2005 @MSST 80, ARK 55Recap
    » Mar 1, 2005 MSST 57, @ARK 55Recap