Miss St 70

(14-14, 4-11 SEC)

Arkansas 80

(20-8, 9-6 SEC)

    8:05 PM ET, March 1, 2006

    Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas

    1 2 T
    MSST 28 4270
    ARK 36 4480

    Top Performers

    Mississippi St: R. Delk 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Arkansas: R. Brewer 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Arkansas 80, Mississippi St. 70

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- The entire building could sense it -- the coach, the players and the raucous home crowd.

    It's March, and Arkansas is closing in on an NCAA tournament berth.

    Jonathon Modica scored 26 points, including 17 in the first 6 minutes of the second half, and the Razorbacks beat Mississippi State 80-70 Wednesday on an emotional Senior Night.

    "I just want to celebrate today with the seniors, and give them just a lot of credit (for) their role in help building the program back to NCAA tournament," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "And hopefully we'll be a team that is going to be winning an SEC championship here in the near future."

    Modica made a 3-pointer in the final seconds before halftime, then added five more early in the second. Arkansas (20-8, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) led 36-28 after a contentious first half that included a pair of double technical fouls 25 seconds apart. After the break, the Razorbacks went on a 12-0 run en route to their fourth straight win.

    Arkansas, which finishes the regular season at Georgia on Sunday, has moved into good position for its first NCAA appearance since 2000-01.

    "The way we're playing right now, and as unselfish as we're playing right now, I think Arkansas is a team that can do some great things and make a lot of noise around the country," Modica said. "I just hope that we continue to build off each other."

    Modica's six 3-pointers in his final home game matched a career high set last month against South Carolina. Ronnie Brewer added 23 points for Arkansas.

    Modica's last 3-pointer was a bank shot from the left wing, and his layup moments later put the Razorbacks up 56-37 with 14:21 to play. Modica then hobbled off holding his left leg. He scored only two more points, but Mississippi State could pull no closer than eight.

    Arkansas has won 20 games for the first time since 2000-01, Nolan Richardson's next-to-last season as coach. That was also the last time the Razorbacks had a winning record in the SEC, something Wednesday's win assured.

    A crowd of 19,833 saw Arkansas finish the season 15-1 at home, its most wins at Bud Walton Arena since going 16-2 in 2000-01 and the best record there percentage-wise since a 15-0 mark in 1997-98.

    Modica and fellow seniors Eric Ferguson and Dontell Jefferson received huge ovations when they were replaced with 18.9 seconds remaining. The crowd chanted "one more year" as Brewer, a junior, dribbled out the clock.

    Heath said he's not preoccupied with the possibility Brewer might turn pro.

    "That's something for down the road," Heath said. "He's playing good basketball and he wants to win."

    Reginald Delk had 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs (14-14, 4-11) were trying for their third straight sweep of Arkansas after beating the Razorbacks 69-67 in January to start the SEC season.

    Mississippi State's Dietric Slater, coming off a career-high 22 points in Saturday night's 83-68 win over Georgia, played only 3 minutes. He fell early in the first half and walked off slowly with a leg injury coach Rick Stansbury said could end his season.

    "Knee -- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)," Stansbury said. "Don't know, but he's probably done this year."

    Jamall Edmondson, who sat out the Georgia game with pneumonia, also missed the game against Arkansas.

    "As a coach all you ever ask is to get everything out of your team you can get out of them," Stansbury said. "They did that. They left everything on the floor they could possibly give. It just wasn't enough."

    Mississippi State finished 0-8 on the road in conference play and will be the only SEC team to do so. Wednesday's game was exactly one year after the Bulldogs' last SEC road victory, 57-55 at Arkansas.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 70 80
    FG Made-Attempted 28-64 (.438) 27-53 (.509)
    3P Made-Attempted 12-22 (.545) 10-20 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 2-5 (.400) 16-24 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 20

    2005-06 Season

    Jan 7, 2006 @MSST 69, ARK 67Recap
    » Mar 1, 2006 @ARK 80, MSST 70Recap