Derick E. Hingle/USA Today

LSU coach Johnny Jones pre-Mississippi State transcript

Here's everything LSU coach Johnny Jones had to say before the Tigers battle Mississippi State in the regular season finale.

Opening statement…

“I’m excited about our win last night. I thought our guys did a tremendous job and now we have to quickly turn our attention to a really tough matchup in a Mississippi State team that I feel their record isn’t indicative of the type of team that they are. They’ve had some really close outings. I think the only one where there is a big difference in terms of their score is the Vanderbilt game. Every other game they've been very competitive. We know here, unfortunately they got on a roll and played extremely well and we never recovered after the score being tied at around 24 early in the first half. They’re a different team right now and I think after the last few games we’ve been playing as a better team as well and we look forward to a tough challenge on Saturday afternoon.” 

On not letting the Georgia loss affect the team and not letting the win affect the team…

“I think we're conditioned as the season has progressed in terms of our approach. Therefore I didn't think after setbacks that we were emotionally drained so to speak, so that we couldn't compete in the next outing. I think because of that now that we’ve had success they look forward to hopefully building on that in this part of the season. With the youth and immaturity that we have, I think the number of games that they have under their belt now, a lot has been learned as the season has progressed. I think that has to be one of the things and we’ll know more on Saturday evening. I go into it confident that their mindset will be right and that they’ll be more eager to accept the challenge and play well and not be satisfied with the results from last night.” http://www.scout.com/college/lsu/story/1759084-lsu-sends-seniors-out-wit...

On the team's goals now that the tournament is closing in…

“I just think they have to prepare every day. You never know how the season is going to end or how the tournament will play out. Your deal is making sure that you continue to compete and prepare. The most important game on our schedule now has to be the game on Saturday afternoon against a good Mississippi State team. When Wednesday rolls around our preparation has to be for whoever our opponent will be on that day. We certainly have to take it one game at a time, and while it’s going to be five games in five days, we have to be in the right mindset that we have to take it one game at a time and that we’ve faced every team that's in the bracket. We have an idea of how they play and we’ve been competitive with a lot of them. We know that anything can happen and we have to take that approach. If we want to get into the post-season play and extend our season that's the way to do it. We’ll have to play with a certain edge about ourselves and hopefully we are peak at the right time.”

On what’s next to improve in your “building blocks” after improving turnovers and defense…

“I think we have really good shooters and I think we share the basketball. Our assist numbers are probably not indicative of the unselfishness that is on the team. It's a matter of being able to continue to share the ball and make plays and having a balanced scoring attack. I think that would allow us to be more effective and tougher to scout as well. We still have to continue to build and get better on the defensive end of the floor. I think we gave up six threes in the first half and only four in the second (last night). I thought we were conscious of it and knew where they were coming from. We didn't allow the easy paint scores that we generally give up as well. Teams hit us with threes and then balance it in the paint, which hasn't been a great formula for us. That was part of the reason that there has been a big difference in terms of our scores. We weren’t knocking the three ball down and then we were giving up too many. Then people were scoring in the paint as well.”

On the players being happy but not satisfied with the win …

“I can tell you, it was almost the business approach for them. I think they were excited about the moment but they know we have more work to do. That was good to see. I didn't think they were overly enthused. They lost it and left it in the locker room. They got that one under their belt and they’re satisfied. They know the approach and we’ve got one regular season game left in Mississippi State and I think their approach and mindset going into it will be right.”

On Brandon Sampson…

“I think he’s been more open to what is needed and required to get to where he’s trying to go and to be the player he wants to be. We’ve been preaching the same thing to him and I think he’s seen the success of it now that he’s tried it, especially his ability to drive the basketball and getting to the rim and creating foul opportunities. Now he’s been able to mix his game up and I think that's where he’s been most effective. On the defensive end I thought he could be a good defender because he’s long and quick. He has the range to be able to do that and that balance shows. I think Brandon has a tremendous upside about him and I think the last several weeks he’s shown that he can be consistent for us. He’s not forcing anything but I think he’s done the things that are necessary for us, because when he does get fouled, he helps us get quicker into the foul count and gets us to the one-and-one quicker for our team.”

On the difference in the team from the first time playing Mississippi State…

“I think with how new they were to each other, the offensive spacing has gotten better. I think guys are making better decisions on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively I think they’re more in tuned to what we want. Not necessarily that we’re getting it all the time, but at least when they do make the mistakes they have a real good idea of recognizing it a lot sooner rather than later. We’re not getting beat with the same thing as consistently. So I think that's been good.”

On Jalyn Patterson’s aggressiveness…

“I thought last night Jalyn was really effective and he showed it throughout the game. He maximized his minutes and his time on the floor. He’s just been a little inconsistent in doing that. So that's why I think it’s been the balance with him and Skylar. I would like for him to be more to where he was last night so he and Skylar can be on the floor together. I think that they play extremely well together. They’ve both good decision makers, and when they are on their game, it certainly makes us a more dangerous team.”


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