The Associated Press CROWDING FOX: Arkansas' Adrio Bailey (2), Moses Kingsley (33) and Jaylen Barford (0) join forces against Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, center, in Saturday's matchup in Lexington, Ky. Arkansas' Trey Thompson, who has been the backup for Kingsley most of the season, will take the floor with Kingsley tonight against Mississippi State.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Possibly at the start, and almost guaranteed before the finish, Arkansas big men Moses Kingsley and Trey Thompson should simultaneously play for the Razorbacks in tonight's SEC game against Mississippi State.
Arkansas, 12-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, and the visiting Bulldogs, 10-4 and 1-1, tip off at 8 p.m. tonight at Walton Arena on the SEC Network.
Thompson, the 6-9 junior from Madison via Forrest City, has spent this season as the backup for 6-10 senior Kingsley, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, but he was employed in tandem with Kingsley during some of Arkansas' better moments against nationally No. 6 Kentucky last Saturday.
The Razorbacks lost 97-71 but at half only trailed 41-38.
Kingsley tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot for his 33 minutes while Thompson in 20 minutes scored four points, grabbed four rebounds, dished two assists, blocked two shots and "really helped the offense flow," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said after last Saturday's game in Lexington, Ky.
Asked about Thompson before the Razorbacks practiced for their Mississippi State game, Anderson said, "He gives us quality minutes when he's on the floor. It just seems like his basketball IQ is very, very good. He rebounds the basketball. He got two big offensive rebounds in the last game. When he's out there, you know his presence. It gives us a little size."
And more offense than his stats show, especially if he becomes less reticent to show it.
"He's got a nice shot," Anderson said. "He's got to be able to go ahead and shoot it and shoot with confidence."
On pairing Thompson with Kingsley rather than just relieving Kingsley, Anderson said, "We did that the other night, and I think we saw a big difference."
The Razorbacks saw a big difference in themselves in their gutty first half against Kentucky but saw it wasted as the Wildcats took second half command while all but taking Arkansas junior guard Jaylen Barford out of the game.
Barford scored 14 first-half points off the bench but scored nothing in a second half during which he played all but five minutes because of foul trouble, including a controversial technical foul that got the Kentucky crowd on Barford that put him off his game.
"I'm still wondering what he did to earn the technical foul," Anderson said of Barford entangled Kentucky guard Isaiah Bruce as Bruce had fallen trying to take a charge. "But he's got to learn from that. Even as you play with the four fouls, three fouls, whatever, you continue to do what you do."
Arkansas senior guard Dusty Hannahs, the Hogs' second leading scorer (13.9) who was stifled at Kentucky on a 2 for 12 6-point scoring night after scoring 20 on Kentucky last season, also looks to get untracked tonight.
"I thought maybe their length bothered him a little bit, but he had some open looks and just missed some shots," Anderson said. "Dusty just needs to keep bringing it. We know when he's on he makes a big difference."
Anderson said with Hogs backed into a 1-2 corner with losses at home to Florida and at Kentucky sandwiching a victory at Tennessee, they had better be ready tonight because Coach Ben Howland's Bulldogs literally will be Ready.
Mississippi State senior point guard I.J. Ready, a Little Rock Parkview alum and former high school teammate of Arkansas junior guard Daryl Macon and to become the fourth Arkansan to play against Arkansas in four SEC games, averages 10.5 points and a team-leading 5.1 assists. Ready dished eight assists grabbed six rebounds and scored 13 points when the Bulldogs, after starting the SEC campaign upset, 68-58 at home by Alabama, smashed LSU, 95-79, last Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.
Ready hit three of Mississippi State's 11 threes against LSU.
"This is his last game here to play in Arkansas, so I'm sure he's excited about coming home," Anderson said. "We've seen that when guys come back to the state, they're going to leave everything out on the floor. He's the leader of their basketball team and a really good player."
It's not just Ready for whom the Razorbacks must be ready.
Five Bulldogs scored from 11 to 17 against LSU. Per game, sophomore Quinndary Weatherspoon leads Mississippi State averaging 17.7 points.
"We have got to make sure we are there with their shooters," Anderson said. "We have got to do a much better job of keeping people off the offensive glass."
Arkansas (12-3, 1-2 SEC)
Player Pts. Reb.
F-Trey Thompson 6-9 junior 2.2 1.4
C-Moses Kingsley 6-10 senior 11.3 8.7
G-Daryl Macon 6-3 junior 14.1 2.9
G-Dusty Hannahs 6-3 senior 13.9 1.7
G-Manuale Watkins 6-3 senior 6.0 4.4
Mississippi State (10-4, 1-1 SEC)
F-Mario Kegler 6-7 freshman 9.7 5.7
F-Aric Holman 6-10 sophomore 10.1 6.6
G-I..J Ready 5-11 senior 10.5 5.1
G-Quinndary Weatherspoon 6-4 sophomore 17.7 4.9
G-Tyson Carter 6-4 freshman 9.4 2.6Sports on 01/10/2017