"If I knew I was going to have to watch that ballgame from Coach Polk's smokey office I would have never gotten thrown out.
"I am very proud of my team. I put them in a very tough situation early in that basketball game. To tell you the kind of people they are, I think once they grabbed their composure the last 7 or 8 minutes of that first half, from there on they were a totally different basketball team. We outscored them after it was 28-19 (Ole Miss), 34 points from that point on. I am very proud of my seniors. Timmy Bowers, we talked from day one this was your team.
"My assistant coaches did a great job. Robert Kirby and Phil Cunningham, in particular, have been around. I thought they made great adjustments, in particular the second half. I am proud how they stepped up and handled it."
Do you think your team got a little caught up in their style at first?
"I think that was a part of it. And Branden Vincent picked up his third foul. That was huge for us. Plus, I thought their was a transition from me exiting the game and them putting it behind them."
What did you say to your team at halftime?
"We just talked about the things they needed to do. The fought back from 9 down to take the lead in less than a five-minute span. We made a few little adjustments to try and keep a little bit of that motion out of it. I think we were giving up a little too much on penetration. In the second half, I thought that we controlled that totally. There was no question that we limited them in the post. I know that (Justin) Reed was no factor except for a couple of putbacks. He got two in that motion, so I thought we did a terrific job on him all day."
Talk about the poise of you team.
"They came out of the locker room at the start of the second half and had great poise. It was very important to come out and try and get a little bit of cushion so Ole Miss couldn't control the flow of the game. They are a team that sometime struggles a bunch of points. If you can get ahead of them a little bit, they seem to try and change styles a little bit."
Talk about the play of Branden Vincent.
"I gambled again. He had two fouls. I let he and Lawrence (Roberts) play through two fouls at different times. He got his third on that charge foul and that was probably at the 15 or 16 minute mark. That was a big blow to us, in particular against Ole Miss because they like to play small and it is hard to play both Lawrence and (Marcus) Campbell."
What was the difference in your team after they got down by 9 to Ole Miss?
"The difference in they probably gathered their composure. They understood this was a war, we have to play in the basketball. That is the kind of people we have. Leaders like Timmy Bowers, Shane Power, Lawrence Roberts, Branden Vincent aren't going to wilt under pressure. The more you squeeze them, the harder they are going to play."
Have you ever gotten a technical for not saying anything?
"That was my first. And a lot of times I deserve technical fouls. I am going to be as nice about this as I can. Naturally, I am going to argue that point always that one I didn't deserve it. I deserve a lot of them, but that one, even if I deserved it, in that type game, show a little patient. But, absolutely, the second one I didn't deserve. But, I can't talk about officiating."
How many technical fouls have you had called against you in your head coaching career? "I think I have had three or four technicals - Doc Ellis got one of them for me - in my career. And I get two in less than three minutes. I'll take responsibility for them. I have been more active before than I was today. Naturally, I walked out to check on my player and there wasn't a word that came out of my mouth."
What happened on the first technical?
"I stomped my foot. I got a call from the far end for stomping my foot. I've stomped my foot a lot of times. I took that one and moved on. I knew I had to be very sensitive for that second one. And I was sensitive with it."
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.