"He made a lot of big threes in the first half that kept the game close. Coach told me don't leave him in the second half. So, I went out with the plan to hug him and don't give him any free looks at the goal."
You guys really played with a lot of intensity tonight.
"It was in our head that we were coming back to the Hump and we hadn't played here in a couple of weeks. We knew it was going to be a big crowd, a great home crowd. Our fans love us, so we wanted to come out and give them a great game."
What do you think about the size of the crowd?
"Man, that was impressive to me. Most of the time, you don't get that kind of crowd. For it to be the first game back in the Hump, we were surprised. We were planning on a lot of people coming out for the Kentucky game. But, when you get support like that, you don't have any choice but to play well."
What do you think about the 13-0 streak?
"Actually, we don't mention the streak a lot around here. We just play the games. Coach may put number 13 up after the game just to let us know where we are. But we don't really get caught up in the streak. We just know we have to play hard every game."
Even though you don't talk about the streak much, it must be satisfying to see your team's name listed on ESPN with all the other undefeated teams?
"It is kind of satisfying to see your name on that list, but sometimes you don't feel you are getting the respect you should. But, we know we are going to play every game tough."
Did you think you could come into this game and punish Arkansas inside?
"We did kind of figure that. We knew they were smaller than us. We have a seven-footer in Marcus Campbell and Lawrence Roberts, who is a very strong power forward player. We knew they couldn't rebound as well as us."
What do you think about having Dick Vitale as a commentator for the upcoming Kentucky game?
"I watch Dick Vitale on tv. He gets the commentating going on on tv and pump up a lot of players. It is going to be exciting. I'm really excited for us to get him to come down here. That is probably the first time for us to play in front of Dick Vitale. I'm really excited about it."
The Kentucky game is a big game for the whole program, isn't it?
"Yeah, it is a big game. We are just going to go out and play hard and, hopefully, we pull it out."
Lawrence Roberts (29 pts, 11 rebs, 1 block, 1 steal, 29 minutes)
What do you think about Arkansas?
"They are a young, great ball club. The thing we had to do against them was come out and play hard on both ends and get the pace to where we liked it."
Coach Stansbury mentioned that you said to Coach Kirby that you thought you might get 20-20 tonight. What prompted that?
"We talked a little bit about picking it up on both ends. I just told him how hard I was going to go. It was just one of those things you say while joking around."
How's your shoulder?
"It's pretty good. Hopefully, it will be alright tomorrow and later on in the week."
Was this your best game, overall, this year?
"I would say it is the most energy that I had."
Do you think you can play better than you did today?
"Oh yeah, most definitely. I saw errors in the second half. There were a few rebounds I missed."
Did you feel that they could stop you when you went inside?
"I don't feel like they could stop us from running. When we are running, I don't think anybody can stop us. So, I just try to do a good job running and posting hard."
How about a 2-0 start in conference?
"That's always great. In great conference, you always want to start off good and kind of get the ball rolling. I think we did a good job winning these first two games."
How tough was it on Arkansas trying to guard both you and Marcus?
"It's tough for any team. Marcus is a great post player. When you have a guy that big in the interior, it kind of opens up things on the floor."
What was the difference in this game and the Ole Miss game?
"It was more of a team effort. We came out and played hard. Everybody came in and contributed and played hard. One of the things we didn't do at Mississippi was rebound and get out and run. This game, we just wanted to really get out and run and get some easy baskets in transition."
You made seven of seven free throws. Have you got your confidence back?
"I never lost it. You just have to step up at times. It was just one of those things."
Talk about the Kentucky game.
"It is going to be a hard fault battle. We are going to have to come out and play hard knowing that they are one of the top ranked schools. We just have to come out with a lot of energy. We have them at home, so we are pumped about it. The fans are going to be great Tuesday. And it is going to be an excellent game. We are just ready for Tuesday."
Is the Kentucky game the kind of stage you love to play on?
"Oh yeah, you can't beat that. Anytime you have a top ranked school in, it is obvious you are going to get pumped for the game. Who enjoys it more than the players when you go out and play the best?"
Timmy Bowers (7 pts, 4 rebs, 4 assists, 2 steals, 34 minutes)
What is at stake when you play Kentucky this Tuesday night?
"I think the biggest thing at stake for us was protecting our home court. You always want to win at home. We don't want them to come in here and give us our first loss."
Have you seen them play this year?
"Definitely. They are always on tv, so we watch them play all the time. We will watch them tonight on tv against Vanderbilt. We know they have a lot of talent on their team and they play hard and they play tremendous defense. They are well coached. They are your typical Kentucky team. We are just going to have to be ready for them."
What do you think the environment will be like Tuesday night?
"A sold out, standing-room only crowd. School will be back in. I think it will be crazy in here, kind of like when they came here two years ago."
Have you guys been looking toward the Kentucky game for a while?
"Everybody has been looking ahead to Kentucky except for us. We were looking at Arkansas because we knew they were a very good team. We wanted to come in here today and take care of business. Now it is time to talk about UK. We will try to be ready for them on tv."
Talk about how much it helps you as a player knowing someone else can carry the offensive load when you have an off-night?
"It feels good. It takes a lot of pressure off myself and Winsome Frazier and all the other perimeter guys when you know you can have an off-night and someone else can step up. Lawrence is a guy who can step up any given night. Even when the perimeter players have good nights, he is still going to be there. Then, you have Campbell playing well on top of that. That is even better for us."
This is one of the louder student sections in the SEC. Talk about the home crowd advantage you guys get here.
"The crowd gives us a lot of momentum out there. That is what it is about early in the game. You are nervous and you want to turn your nervous energy into good energy. Anytime the crowd is behind us, that just pumps us up even more."
It seems like the team's defensive game has picked up the past few weeks.
"That is one thing we have been talking about among each other. Early in the season we relied on the offense a lot, but at the same time, with all this talent, you have to play defense as well."
Marcus Campbell (8 pts, 10 rebs, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 23 minutes)
It seemed like you were having a personal war out there.
"No, we were just playing hard, just playing good basketball."
The inside game was more involved than it was Wednesday night.
"We have been working hard trying to get the ball low in the paint."
You really wanted to get the ball into Lawrence tonight.
"Yeah, especially with the way he was going tonight."
You really seem to play with a lot of emotion tonight. What was it about tonight's game?
"I was just trying to play hard, just trying to get out of a little slump that I was in. I had a little slump rebounding, so I was kind of happy I was getting some glass."
You dominated the boards. What was it about the team's rebounding tonight?
"We challenged ourselves to go out there and get every rebound. As long as we keep gang rebounding like that, we will be pretty good."
What about Kentucky coming in Tuesday night?
"It is going to be a big game, a good game. We are excited to get it going. I wish we could play tomorrow."
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.