First game of the season.
"It's nice to get that first one under your belt. You really don't know what to expect, not just out of your team but your opponents also."
"They are a good basketball team. Those smaller teams that have four guys who can shoot it, it causes you problems. It caused us defensively, particularly in the first half with ball screens."
Tennessee-Martin's zone defense.
"We saw a lot of zone, which was something that we hadn't worked against. It was good for us to learn on the fly. I thought in the second half we really did a good job attacking the zone. Lawrence Roberts on the baseline and Marcus Campbell on the inside had their day."
The 15 rebounds by Lawrence Roberts.
"Lawrence Roberts was a horse on the backboards tonight. He had a field day in the second half."
What did you do in the second half to pull away from them after playing them a close first half?
"We guarded them a little differently. Plus, we got the ball inside against the zone. The first half, I thought that we had good shots against the zone but missed them. Frazier didn't shoot particularly well tonight (3 of 11). In the second half, I thought that we did a much better job showing a little more patience. I also thought we did a good job getting the ball to Lawrence Roberts and Marcus Campbell on the inside of the zone in the second half."
Did your guys shoot too many three-point shots in the first half? (MSU attempted 14 three-pointers in the first half and 5 in the second.-Gene)
"No, I won't say too many. This team has plenty of freedom to shoot it. But sometimes the open three is not always the best shot to shoot against the zone early. I thought we did that a lot in the first half. Against the man, it is always a good shot."
Talk about your production off the bench. You played 10 guys in the first half.
"There were two guys in particular. I thought that Gary Ervin showed a little more point guard savvy out there. He has never played against a zone in his life, so he doesn't understand how to get into gaps. It was a learning experience for him. But I thought that he was more involved tonight. I though that Shane Power coming off the bench took another step forward and gave us a little offense tonight. He is going to defend every night. Those two guys gave us some good minutes."
You have to be impressed with how active Marcus Campbell was.
"He's not where we want him to be but he is making progress. He is becoming more and more active. I attribute it to his practice habits. I think he had his best week of practice that he has ever had. Does that mean he practiced great all week? No, absolutely not. He is moving better. His endurance is better."
Talk about your two upcoming games, South Alabama and Western Kentucky.
"South Alabama returns four starters. They have two new guys that are now starting for them. That tells you that they have two guys that are better than two of the guys who started for them last year. They are picked in the upper half of their league.
"There is no question that Western Kentucky will be good. They have won 39 straight at home. They have three 5th-year seniors back. They played with Auburn for about 30 minutes Friday night, then ran out of gas. They will be a hand full. They are waiting on us because there aren't many SEC teams that go into Western Kentucky."
Compared to Mario Austin, what kind of presence does Lawrence Roberts give you down inside? "It is a different kind of presence. Mario was a paint presence. He was a wide body in the paint. He spread out and created space. Lawrence is a guy who doesn't demand the basketball like that. I want him to demand it more. And as time goes on, we will put him in the situation where he has to demand it more. I think he has a little more ability to move around and go over you and make shots."
Talk about the play of Gary Ervin.
"As far as understanding and seeing things happen before they happen, Gary Ervin is very good. he has a lot of point guard mentality. I like this with Gary. I would rather have a point guard hold back right now and not make a lot of mistakes. I think Gary has a lot more that we haven't seen yet. I think that will come with more playing time. I thought we saw a little more tonight. He played with more aggression and was more comfortable."
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 email@example.com.