"I'm happy to get this win. I was a little concerned about this game because it is piggybacked on a trip to San Francisco. Sometimes, that can be a concern. But, for the most part, I thought that our kids came out and played well.
"I didn't think we were at our best. New Orleans played some zone to slow the game down and keep us from running. They did a great job. The zone slows the game down. That's why each possession is so important.
"We got those leads each time but we never put them away. We got relaxed, made some turnovers and let New Orleans hang around. They hung around just enough to make some shots."
Talk about playing this game in Tupelo, Mississippi.
"We had a great crowd. As I have always said, I like taking our team out to different parts of the state because we have a lot of fans. We have a large fan base in Tupelo and I thought they really came out and got behind us. It is a great experience. It is something I want to continue doing throughout the state."
You seem to go to certain players when New Orleans made a run at you.
"I have a lot of confidence in several people. There was one lineup I put in there everytime they made a little run. We then stretched (the lead) back out. Timmy (Bowers), (Winsome) Frazier, Shane (Power), Branden (Vincent) and Lawrence (Roberts), that's a lineup that you can trust offensively and defensively. I didn't always have that lineup on the floor tonight because I was getting some other guys some playing minutes."
Where does Marcus Campbell fit in?
" Campbell has to be in our mix. Marcus is much better than he was last year. He has played very well in spurts for us. We have to turn those spurts into more consistent play. But there is no question that he has played much better and is a lot better than he was. He is not where we need him to be, but he is making progress."
Talk about his development and what kind of role you see for Shane Power.
"Every game he has played he has gotten a little bit better. His offense has gotten a little bit better. He is becoming more athletic all the time because he is getting back in shape. I think the more he plays the better he will get.
"There are a couple of things about him that are very good. You trust him defensively. He makes a lot of good mental basketball plays."
Talk about facing their zone.
"We have seen all kind of zones at this point. And we have found ways to score. We are not an easy team to zone at all. We have some (offensive) weapons. I guess when you play zone you have to choose your poison because Frazier, Bowers and Power are three guys in the perimeter who are very capable of making shots."
Are you concern about how your team played in spurts tonight?
"That is no concern. That is part of basketball. However, you want to keep those spurts down a little bit. Part of it is playing different lineups. Gary (Ervin) is still learning. He makes mistakes and we are letting him play through his mistakes."
Are you worried about the number of minutes Timmy Bowers is playing?
"That is some concern, but we have been able to rest him a little bit in practice. We have been able to use those minutes pretty good; 30 to 32 minutes a night. He can play that. He is an experienced player. But we don't need him to play 36 and 38 minutes and we haven't done that to this point. If we can keep him at 30, 32, 33, then we can survive that."
What is your itinerary the rest of the week?
"We will bus to Memphis tonight. Our flight is 8:50 (Wednesday morning). We will use (Wednesday) as a day off. We will sight-see a few things in San Francisco. Thursday, we will be in Santa Clara. We will practice Thursday and Friday. Then play Saturday night. We will fly back in Saturday night."
Talk about Santa Clara.
"They had won six straight until (Monday) night. They were playing without their best player, their leading scorer, last night. He is probable for the Oregon game Wednesday but he will be back for us. Santa Clara is very good. It will be a very difficult task for us. But it is another opportunity for our kids to go through. We are going to go into some tough places in the SEC."
"It was our pleasure to come to Tupelo and play a very established program and a very well-coached team that is always a top 25 team, especially lately.
"(Lawrence) Roberts adds a lot to their basketball team. Without him, I don't think they would be quite as good but they would still be a good basketball team.
"It is kind of pick your poison for us in trying to stop them. If we played them man-to-man they would score inside. If we played zone it frees them up for some shots. And they did a good job, particularly in the first half, shooting the basketball. I think they were 7 for 15 with threes in the first half.
"I thought our kids hung in there pretty well. We got our tails beat pretty good the other day at Austin, Texas. I thought when they got on out there we put our heads down for a couple of minutes. Tonight, I thought we battled and fought back. Actually, the last 6 or 7 minutes we had a chance to get it down to under single digits and make it more of a game. But they are an awfully powerful team."
What did you know about Roberts?
"Just that he is a heck of a player. He is a good low-block player. He shot his free throws better tonight. My coaches told me he is a 49% free throw player and he was 7 for 7. I might have to get some other coaches. Give him credit for making his free throws. I thought he was very unselfish tonight. Coming into the game, we thought if we doubled him he might still try to score. But tonight I thought he was very unselfish. He only took 6 shots from the field. He tried to help his team win. As long as he does that - he is a wonderful player anyway - but as long as he does that, that just makes him that much better.
Talk a little more about Mississippi State, especially offensively.
"They come at you from a lot of different places. Frazier is a great shooter. Bowers can shoot. Campbell is big inside. They may not be quite as deep as they have been in the last few years but their first seven are awfully good. When you compare them to Texas, that is where I thought Texas was better. Texas goes about 10 deep. But (MSU) is a very good basketball team. Undefeated and top 25 in the country. (MSU) is very good."
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.