MSU secures second seed in SEC West
Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson (2) drives to the basket as Arkansas' Julysses Nobles (23) defends on Wednesday night. (April L. Brown/The Associated Press)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. â€” Ravern Johnson scored 25 points as Mississippi State pulled away in the second half for a 88-78 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
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The win secures a second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference West Division for the Bulldogs (16-13, 8-7), along with a first-round bye in next week's conference tournament.
Mississippi State trailed 60-58 in the second half before using a 15-3 run to take control. Kodi Augustus scored five points during the run and 21 of his 23 points for the game in the second half as the Bulldogs completed the regular-season sweep of the Razorbacks.
"Kodi Augustus was a warrior," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said.
Renardo Sidney added 14 points for Mississippi State.
Rotnei Clarke led Arkansas (18-11, 7-8) with 24 points, while Marshawn Powell added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Razorbacks, playing without an injured starting point guard in Jeff Peterson, hit 11-of-22 3-pointers.
Arkansas took a 39-35 lead at halftime after a basket by Delvin Johnson and stretched the margin to 45-37 early in the second half.
After working the game back tied at 53-53 and 60-60, the Bulldogs gained a 63-60 advantage with 7 minutes left in the game on a three-point field goal by Kodi Augustus. Ravern Johnson followed that up with a three-pointer of his own to increase the total to 66-60 at the 6:20 mark.
Mississippi State continued to work on its lead down the stretch of the game.
A putback by Augustus and a pair of free throws helped the Bulldogs move out to an 81-70 advantage with 49 seconds left to play.
Augustus added two more free throws to cap the scoring for MSU.