Marcus Campbell (12 pts, 8 rebs, 13 minutes)
What have you tried to work on since you were moved to the bench?
"Just trying to get back to the basics; do the things that have been helping me all year."
You had 12 points and 8 boards in 13 minutes.
"I guess so. I didn't pay attention to how many minutes I played out there today. I just focused on the energy while I was out there."
Did Rick (Stansbury) have to sell you on coming off the bench?
"No, not really. He thought it would be good for the team, so I said whatever can help the team keep on winning..everybody loves a winner, so I'm with it."
What has he asked you to do when you come in and play?
"He said to come off and give energy. Come out there and do my job and don't slow up the pace of the game. Whenever I'm out there I give 110%."
Gary Ervin (2 pts, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 18 minutes)
The key to this game was the 19-0 start. Talk about that start.
"Before the game, the guys were really keyed up. We were talking about it. Some of the guys like Timmy Bowers and Lincoln Smith said they had never won against Georgia in the Hump or at Georgia."
Have you ever been in a game that started out 19-0?
"I have had a couple of games like that but not in college."
Georgia has showed, with wins over Georgia Tech and Kentucky, that they can play with anybody on any given night. "Georgia is a very good basketball team. They came in and played tough in Rupp Arena. That is why we came out and played so hard and with a lot of energy."
How important was it to keep the momentum going after the big wins against LSU and Florida.
"You can't let up after big wins. You have to continue. That's what the great teams do."
Talk about the new starting lineup.
"It's really not that big of a deal to the guys, but it is a quicker, smaller lineup. A lot of the guys are more experienced and have played a lot of games in the Big 12."
How do you guys keep your emotions in check where you are never too high or never too low?
"You take it one game at a time; don't make the situation bigger than it is. Just come out like it's a regular game. We continue to do that, we will be a very good basketball team."
But these are no longer just regular basketball games because you guys are number one in the SEC and are now the hunted.
"Guys just have to keep working hard in practice because we know everybody is hunting for us. In order for us to be a good basketball team and continue doing what we are doing, we have to work hard in practice."
Shane Power (9 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 35 minutes )
You guys have really played well since the Kentucky loss.
"I really think we need to make up for that Kentucky game everytime we step on the court. I think we got very focused after the Kentucky game. We made some small changes. Our concentration has been great. Our goal is to not only win the West but the entire conference. We have to take it game by game and continue to get better."
Was the Kentucky loss almost like a kick in the pants?
"Yeah, I think so. We were so upset from losing that game that we really channeled our energy into making up for that loss. I think we would be in the top 10 right now if we had won that game, but I think it got us refocused."
Talk about the play of Lawrence Roberts. He only played 8 minutes in the first half but he still wound up with 17 points in the game.
"Lawrence is a great player. I'm going to take a lot of credit for getting him to come here (laugh). He is a great player. You have to give all the credit to him for working hard enough to raise the level of his game. I played against him in the Big 12 and to be honest with you he wasn't this determined and this motivated. He has a level of motivation that surpasses most."
Where does his level of motivation come from?
"I think our whole team has a sense of urgency. I think we all understand how important and special this season can be. I think it comes from there."
What is it that makes this team so even keel? Is it because all of you are veterans even though a couple of you are new to the team?
"I think so. When you look, we have six veterans and (Gary Ervin) is playing like a veteran. We have six guys who have been starters and have logged major minutes throughout their career. Because of that, we have a lot of poise and toughness. Those are the two major things that takes to win in this league."
Could it also be because this team is an unselfish team?
"This team is extremely unselfish. Our two best players, who I really believe are super stars, Timmy (Bowers) and Lawrence (Roberts) are extremely unselfish. I have never seen a big man as unselfish as Lawrence. He kicks the ball out and doesn't really criticize guys when they don't get it to him. Even all the way down the bench there have been guys that have had to sacrifice for the good of the team, including guys like me, Gary (Ervin), Marcus (Campbell) and (Winsome) Frazier. We have done that for the betterment of the team and it has worked out."
You guys are now 16-1. Is it dangerous to stop and think about that?
"We are not going to stop and think about it. We are going to leave all of the hoopla up to (the media). You guys have been doing a good job of hyping it up. We just have to concentrate on getting better. If you don't, then you will be one and done in the NCAA Tournament. Our goal is to finish the conference out strong and, hopefully, take home a conference championship. But that's a long way away."
What were your thoughts about the Florida win on the way home?
"We were confident going into the game, but I don't think anyone thought that we were going to have a 15 or 20 point lead throughout the game. I don't think we were going to completely out-tough them like we did and take their crowd out of it. Coach Stansbury said after the game that that was the first time that they had won at Florida. So, we were sitting on the plane really excited and almost kind of shocked, to be honest with you. We knew we had a shot at winning, but I don't think anybody thought we were going to blow them out like we did."
Has there been a point during this 16-1 run where you have sat back and said to yourself that we are a really good team?
"I don't think we have realized that. This team is so hungry. I think everybody on this team realizes that this season can be a very important season to the Mississippi State basketball program. I think everybody has a sense that this season can be special. We have already done some things that we didn't get done last year. And we had a pretty good team last year."
What is it like for you guys when you on campus right now?
"To be honest, that is probably the most dangerous part of all this. Because of the Florida game, my back hurts from getting pats on it from the last two days. It is great that the students have embraced us and are really into this season but it is dangerous in the sense that you start believing that. It that happens, then you are obviously going to be in trouble."
I know Coach Stansbury talks about you not being the offensive player you were at Iowa State because you aren't full speed yet. However, even when you do become full speed, will you be able to show the fans of MSU the player you were at Iowa State when you are playing on a Mississippi State team that is loaded with so much offensive talent?
"Probably not on a daily basis, but I think there are certain opportunities, like maybe the Florida game or games where they are really (guarding) Timmy or trapping Lawrence. I think games like that are ones that I really need to concentrate on stepping up and trying to be the player I was at Iowa State."
Timmy Bowers (15 pts [3 of 7 three-point shots], 3 rebs, 9 assists, 8 turnovers, 2 steals, 34 minutes)
Talk about the 19-0 run to start the game.
"I challenged the guys and they challenged themselves. And everybody came out and played with a lot of intensity and were making shots. When you can make shots and you play the defense you want to play, that is always a plus."
What were you guys doing defensively during that 19-0 run?
"Really, playing with a lot of intensity, trying to get out in passing lanes, trap in the corner and try and limit them to one shot."
Do you feel your team lost its focus after going up 19-0?
"I think so. We started shooting too early in the shot clock, shooting a lot of threes and contested shots. When you are a good team, you can't do that. When you get a team down, you have to bury them."
Even though you went up on them very quickly in the first half, did you remind yourself that they did beat Kentucky and Georgia Tech?
"Definitely. We knew they went to Kentucky and won there and beat Georgia Tech at home. Anytime a team can beat two top 5 teams in the country at the time, you know it is a very capable team."
Now that you guys have won three straight SEC games in large fashion, do you think the polls will take notice?
"Well, it may. We are not really in control of that and don't worry about that as a team. We just try and take it one game at a time. If the media wants to give us national attention; if they don't, that's also fine. We know we have a good Tennessee team coming in here Wednesday and have to be ready to play then."
You've been in this league for a long time. Anytime you've heard of a team going in and defeating LSU and Florida on the road, you immediately take notice and respect that. Now, you have done it.
"I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that we went to LSU and Florida and win handily. We just want to show people we are for real; we are a good ball team, too. If they want to keep overlooking us, that's fine. We are just going to go out there every night and play our hardest. As long as we do that, we can live with ourselves."
Lawrence Roberts (17 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 28 minutes)
After you got into foul trouble in the first half, Marcus Campbell came in and did well. Did it help you to know he could come in and handle the load?
"Most definitely. We knew they had a short roster. They have great starters but we knew if we got into their legs it would open opportunities for people coming off the bench that were fresh."
Talk about what the new starting lineup gives to this team.
"It brings quickness. We can go out there and get it up and down. And we can spread it out because we have three great shooters on the court, which opens up the entire halfcourt."
What's it like among the other students when you are on campus?
"They are offering encouragement. They talk about going to the games and how much fun the games are. We feed off of them as much as they feed off of us. It's great."
You played against Shane Power when you in the Big 12. What does he bring to this team?
"He was a great player, a great shooter. He is pretty much the same thing. He brings that and defensive intensity and physical play. The main things are the physical play he brings and his leadership."
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.