"Auburn is a very good basketball team. They are going to defeat most people here (at Auburn). They have great experience on the front line. And when their perimeter guys shoot like that, that just makes them tougher. I think Monroe came into this game having made just 1 field goal in SEC games. Today, he had 17 points for them. That is a young man who was out for a stretch and had been back for about 5 games. Brown and Watson (also) shot it (well) for them. When they shoot it like that from the perimeter, with their inside game, they are going to beat a lot of people."
Facing an Auburn team in a must-win situation on their home court.
"Anytime you go on the road in this league it is very difficult, especially against a very good Auburn basketball team who had their backs against the wall. They already had one loss at home. This was a must-win for them. For them to salvage their season at all, they had to win today. Our kids came in here and took Auburn's best shot. They are a team that hadn't been shooting very well from the perimeter. In the first half, they knocked down six threes on us."
The MSU road warriors.
"To go on the road and win, you have to be good but you have to have that something special, you have to have that poise and toughness. Right now, I have a locker room full of those guys that have unbelievable poise and tremendous toughness. Shane Power steps to the line the last minute and makes several crucial, crucial free throws and knocks four down. We survived the first half with Branden Vincent stepping up when Lawrence Roberts got into foul trouble. And in the second half, when the game was see-sawing a little bit, Timmy Bowers kind of took it over for us during a three to four minute stretch, which stretched our lead back up. Marcus Campbell gave us good, productive minutes. It was just a great team effort. Those guys back there want to be called the Road Warriors, so that is what we are going to be called from now on."
How he combated Auburn's excellent first half three-point shooting in the second half.
"We made adjustments at halftime. We weren't going to play as much zone even though I wanted to play some zone coming into this game because they have been shooting about 28% from the three-point line. We made adjustments at halftime and said if they are going to beat us, they are going to have to beat us doing something that we do best and that is defending, rebounding and playing with toughness. After looking at the stats - we outrebounded them 16 rebounds and they only got two three-point shots in the second - (we did that)."
MSU grew up some this game.
"I thought our kids grew up a little more today. We had to play through some officiating. I'm not going to say good or bad but we had to play through some of it. I thought at one time there was no question that officiating cost (Roberts) a technical foul. You can't be in that situation. He had two fouls already and I'm gambling by playing him. The last thing you want him to do is pick up a foul with a technical. That is a situation that we have to learn and grow up from."
Lawrence Roberts' play in the second half.
"Lawrence came back in the second half, after not playing much in the first half, and was a warrior in there, a warrior on those backboards. To go on the road and out-rebound Auburn by 16 - we had 17 offensive rebounds to their 8 - that is a huge stat on the road. It is about toughness and effort. You can look at that stat and it tells you which team was the toughest and which team played the hardest."
The movie Hoosiers, a movie about a team from Indiana who won a state championship.
"It is funny how this game came down to this situation. We took off Thursday and watched the movie Hoosiers. It is something that we have done for the last three years before we came to Auburn. I wasn't going to break tradition because we had won both times. To have (Indiana native) Shane Power at the free throw line late in the ball game with the game on the line, everybody on the bench were talking about Jimmy Chitwood. To those of you who haven't watched the movie, Jimmy Chitwood was the guy who won that game and the state championship for that team. Today, that was very special."
MSU is off until next Saturday.
"I really don't like this week off. But I might as well get used to it because it comes every year sometime. I like getting into a routine and staying in that routine because we have been mentally and physically resting during the off-days. We will probably not take much time off. We will probably keep our routine as normal as possible except we won't play Wednesday."
His team faces Ole Miss next Saturday.
"We are going to do like we have always done up to this point, we are going to take them one game at a time. Our next game will be our biggest game of the year. And we know who that is. It is against our rival (Ole Miss), a team that is playing very well right now."
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.