NEW YORK -- Able to shoot over St. John's a night earlier, the Arizona Wildcats couldn't survive a bigger opponent Friday in a 67-57 loss to Mississippi State in the 2K Sports Classic final.
Arizona, which beat St. John's 81-72 on Thursday, dropped to 4-1 and to 12-2 at Madison Square Garden since 1990. The Wildcats shot just 40.4 percent from the field overall and made only nine trips to the free throw line, hitting 5 of 9.
Jesse Perry led UA with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Arnett Moultrie had 15 points and 10 rebounds for MSU.
Perry was the only Wildcat named to the all-tournament team.
Although the Wildcats had established a pattern of strong second halves in their first four games of the regular season, Mississippi State actually overpowered them in the final minutes Friday.
Arizona had cut the Bulldogs' lead to a point several times in the game but Wendell Lewis scored inside to give Mississippi State a 65-55 lead, and the Wildcats called a timeout with 1:49 left.
Alex Jacobson, playing in his first game of the year, had a tough stretch in the second half. He missed an 18-footer and a baseline hook, then had MSU's DeVille Smith drive past him on the baseline for a bucket that gave the Bulldogs a 50-43 lead.
The Bulldogs took a 40-34 lead early in the second half but Jordin Mayes hit a three-pointer with 15:21 left to cut it to 42-41.
In the first half, Arizona nearly erased an early 10-point deficit, trailing 35-34 at halftime. Arizona made just 4 of 13 three-pointers after hitting 9 of 17 in the first half Thursday against St. John's. Jesse Perry led the Wildcats with seven points and seven rebounds while Solomon Hill had eight points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats missed three shots on their final possession that would have given it a halftime lead. On their previous possession, Nick Johnson made a three-pointer to cut the UA deficit to a point.
Earlier, Johnson made an over the shoulder dish to Kyryl Natyazhko, who hit a 19-footer in corner to cut MSU's lead to 28-27 before a Bulldog three made it 31-27.
In the first half, Jacobson made his season debut, drawing a charge soon after entering the game.
Jacobson had yet to play this season because of back problems but returned to practice last week and is needed tonight because of the Bulldogs' size inside.
With 12:33 left in the half, UA coach Sean Miller waved his hand in disgust and called a full timeout with MSU up 21-11. Miller called a 30-second timeout after MSU went off to a 7-0 start with less than two minutes played.