MSU players talk about their win over Tennessee

Mississippi State basketball players talked about their 82-60 win over the Tennessee Volunteers.


Winsome Frazier (12 pts (4-of-7 3-pointers), 3 steals, 27 minutes)

You used most of the bench in the first half when it was still a fairly close game.
"Coach wanted to sub in and sub out to get to their legs. After we got to their legs, he put the starting five back in. He did a good job coaching."

You now have four straight games where you have won by double digit margins. How do you keep your focus so that you don't let it go to your head?
"We just came in and play. We just stay focused. I know everybody is ranking us high but we can't let anything come between us. We let something come in the family, they can destroy us. But Coach (Stansbury) is helping us keep focus right now. He tells us to take it one day at a time. And that is what we are doing."

You appeared to get your shooting touch back tonight.
"Like I told Coach Kirby, I feel it. I feel my shots."

Tennessee played a lot of zone tonight.
"I like zone. I'm a zone shooter. That is one of my strengths."

Did you expect that you could get that many turnovers without really pressing?
"Not really, but we really got into them defensively. They were forcing bad passes. We knew that they were going to throw inside to (Brandon) Crump, so we doubled him a little. We knew what to expect."

What are your thoughts about Auburn, who you play this coming Saturday in Auburn?
"We take them one game at a time. We just have to put this game behind us and concentrate on Auburn because they are a pretty good team."


Gary Ervin (6 pts, 2 assists, 1 steal, 20 minutes)

Talk about the play of Wesley Morgan. There always seems to be somebody that comes off the bench and adds spark?
"Like Coach told him before practice, during practice, after practice always be ready to go in there and play because you never know when the guys are going to need you. Coach Stansbury called on him and came out and played very hard and gave us some productive minutes."

This team was already playing well, but it seems to get better and better. Can this team continue to get better?
"I don't think everybody is on the same page, but we are almost there. As the games go by, I think we are getting better and better as a team."


Shane Power (10 pts, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steals, 0 turnovers, 27 minutes )

Do you guys ever just sit back and think everything is going too good?
"No, no, we haven't thought that. We are not thinking about anything like that; we are thinking about getting better everyday. We are concentrating on the task at hand and we have a long conference season to go. We have a lot of goals that we want to achieve. We won a big game tonight and we have to go into Auburn, which is an extremely tough place to win."

Once again you had a very efficient start to a game.
"Yeah, I think we have done a good job of coming out and executing the plays that Coach Stansbury has called. And anytime you can get stops in the early minutes, I think they gives you a little advantage, too."

In the first half you threw a trap at them and produced two consecutive turnovers and two easy baskets. It seemed like the electricity turned on.
" I think that was a good call by Coach. We were able to get up in the trap and deny that next pass and we got two turnovers in a row. I think that really helped change the game around."

Talk about how well Wesley Morgan played tonight.
"I couldn't be happier for Wes. Last year, Wes and I both had knee problems and we both could barely run. I have been rehabing with him for about a year and a half now and I could not be happier. If anyone in the world deserves it, Wes does. He has worked his butt off. He has stayed in there when things have been tough; they have been real tough for him. He works hard everyday and he finally got his opportunity. I think he took advantage of his opportunity."

His rebounds were very important in the game.
"I don't know if you know this, but he can touch the rim standing. Anytime you can do that and you have any crease at all to get a rebound, you can get them. He blocks a ton of shots in practice and gets a ton of rebounds in practice. If he keeps working hard, then I think he can continue having success."


Lawrence Roberts (20 pts, 3 rebs, 2 steals, 31 minutes)

You had a 10-point lead at halftime and came out in the second half and let them know immediately there would be no comebacks tonight.
"The start of the second half is as important as the start of the first half. We wanted to come out and stay aggressive and keep them from getting off on a little run."

With Tennessee playing so well against Kentucky and Louisville, you must have known they could have come in and won this game.
"Most definitely, they are a good ballclub. They have a lot of talent and pretty good depth. We knew how dangerous they were, so we wanted to come out and kind of take them out of their game and stay aggressive."

Where is this team's killer instinct coming from? You guys just keep pounding and pounding with no letup.
"I think it is coming from practice. We are staying aggressive, we really practice hard. The result is transferring over to the games."


Timmy Bowers (18 pts [2-of-5 3-pointers], 6 rebs, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 30 minutes)

Talk about your upcoming opponent, Auburn.
"We all know they were picked to win the Western Division. We are just going to go down there and just play our style of game, play defense and rebound the ball. Whatever happens on offense happens. It is going to be a good game."

Some people would say you guys are peaking right now. Do you think you are getting better and better each game?
"Oh definitely, you definitely want to get better each game and each practice and not be your best right now but be your best at the end of the season. We are getting better each game, each practice, each drill. That is what it takes to win a championship."

I asked Lawrence this question also. Where is the killer instinct coming from on this team?
"I guess we just never stop competing. Sometimes you get a big lead and you lay back, but we are still aggressive out there even when we have a big lead. That is what it takes. Everybody is buying into what Coach wants to do."

What does it mean to you as a senior to see a guy like Wesley Morgan, a guy who has worked through a knee injury the last two years, come out and have a good game like he did tonight?
"It means the world to me, especially watching him go through his ups and downs. His freshman year and last year he was injured. He is still getting over a knee injury this year, but he works hard everyday. He comes to practice and is the first one in the drills. He has worked hard and that is all you can ask for."

Talk about what Branden Vincent means to this team.
"His role is bigger than what everybody thinks it is. When you look at him, he is not a guy that scores a lot. He is not a guy who is going to be in the newspaper all the time. He is going to rebound the basketball, play defense from end to end. Sometimes he goes into a one-man press by himself. Anytime we have him at the head of that 1-3-1 he causes a lot of havoc because you can't throw it over him because he is 6-foot-8 and he is hard to dribble by because he is quick and strong. Everybody on the team knows what Branden's role is. He is a guy who is going to give you his all every night."


Wesley Morgan (7 pts, 7 rebs, 1 assist, 1 steal, 9 minutes)

Were you surprised when Coach Stansbury told you to get in the game in the first half?
"A little bit but I knew that Linc (Lincoln Smith) was sick so I knew if our big guys got in foul trouble, I might be called on and had to be ready."

Coach Stansbury has said for a couple of weeks he was trying to find a time to play you that wouldn't hurt the team chemistry. Were you aware of that?
"Not really. I just hoped that working hard would pay off. And, tonight, I got some minutes in the first and second half and was able to get in a rhythm."

Did Coach Stansbury tell you that you would come in tonight?
"Everyday he tells me that I am coming along, you are going to play. I was just like, 'alright coach, alright' and I keep practicing."

You appeared to really be into it in the first half.
"Definitely. It was my first SEC game. It was my first time to be out there when the game was still pretty close. It was just good to get out there and help the team."

How did it feel to get that standing ovation everytime you left the court?
"(Laugh) It was nice. I appreciate everybody and hopefully I can build on this."

What are you most proud of, points or rebounds?
"Oh, rebounds, because they are so much harder to get. It is a toughness stat."

What were you thinking when you shot your free throws?
"I don't know, man. I have always been able to shoot free throws better than that. As of late, I can't seem to buy one."

How is your knee?
"Oh, it is fine."

Are you totally healthy now?
"It is the first time I have been healthy since I have been here. This year was the first year that I got to practice all the time. And I have gotten better and better."


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 swindoll@genespage.com.


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