About facing former Bulldog Derrick Zimmerman.
"It was so funny to look out there and see number 22 (Derrick Zimmerman) out there playing. I called his name one time to come to the bench to tell him something. I had forgotten that he was on the other team."
Facing a Jeff Malone team.
"I want to thank Jeff Malone for bringing his team over here. Jeff, as everybody knows, is one of the greatest players who has ever played at this university. For him to bring his team over here means a lot to us."
What his team got out of this game.
"We got out of this game what I had hoped we would. I wanted somebody to be able to smack us around a little bit and see how we would respond. I think the most positive thing about this game was our team was tested in a lot of areas. I thought, in the second half, when the game got on the line, when they got a 3 or 4-point lead, our team responded in a very positive way. I liked that. In the overtime, when the game was on the line, I really thought we dug down defensively. We had 2 or 3 steals. We had three great defensive plays in overtime that probably went unnoticed (by the crowd) but that I thought was the difference in the game."
What did you learn from this game?
"I'm starting to learn a little more about my team. This is a brand new basketball team. I think we will probably be finding out things about them even in March.
"I thought that Lawrence Roberts got in the post and work harder defensively. There is no question that Shane Power brought a lot of defensive intensity to our game. You noticed that I had him in there late for experience. He made 2 huge plays that probably goes unnoticed by the regular person. He got a deflection and steal and he sunk one time down there and got another steal. That's what you have to have. A guy that goes unnoticed for us that I think was terrific for us was Branden Vincent. Branden Vincent fought all night long, defensively. I can promise you, whoever he was guarding most of the night, they had a rough time scoring. He didn't take many shots, but he got to the foul line a lot and made free throwns. And he rebounded the basketball. "
Was this a reality check for some of the younger guys after having such an easy time last Saturday?
"Well, last week was surprising. I thought (Sioux Falls) was a decent team, but we shot the ball so well last week. Two things were different tonight. We shot the ball better last week and we got more baskets in transition. (Columbus Riverdragons) got back in transition. We didn't get a lot of easy baskets in transition. Because of that, we didn't get as many easy spot-up shots. We were 5 of 23 at the three-point line tonight. I think that is good because we didn't shoot the ball but we found a way to tough it out and score some points in other ways. Those are things that I had to find out about my team."
Talk a little about Marcus Campbell's play. He really seems to be playing with a lot of intensity.
"I did something at the start of overtime. It wasn't my best team at the time. Lawrence at the 5 is probably my best team. But I made a decision and put Campbell back in the game to put him in a situation where the game was on the line and a lot of toughness is involved. He came off the bench in overtime and had two huge plays for us that got us going offensively. I was very pleased with that."
Although you outrebounded them, they still did a good job of rebounding.
"They did. They weren't an easy team to keep off the backboards. They are a pretty talented basketball team. Jeff did a very good job with his organization of them. They have a lot of individual talent. For us to fight and scrap like we did was a plus for us."
What's Terry Licorish's status?
"He is out indefinitely due to sickness. I have no idea how long other than for a good long time."
You now start your regular season games. You have three games in 8 days.
"We have three games in 8 days, then we turn around and play three more the following week. We have 6 games in about 13 or 14 days.
"We have a lot of things we have to get better at. Now, these games are going to start coming. But, we have made progress and I'm pleased with the progress that we have made up to this point."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.