MSU assistant coach Phil Cunningham talked to Gene's Page about the thrilling, 79-75, overtime victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in front of over 17,000 Gamecocks fans."> MSU assistant coach Phil Cunningham talked to Gene's Page about the thrilling, 79-75, overtime victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in front of over 17,000 Gamecocks fans.">

Phil Cunningham talks about his team's win

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/coaches/basketball/philcunningham.jpg" align="left"> MSU assistant coach Phil Cunningham talked to Gene's Page about the thrilling, 79-75, overtime victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in front of over 17,000 Gamecocks fans.

Talk about the crowd noise during the game.
"The first half was as loud as any place we have been in a long time. (Robert) Kirby and I were talking about the first year we were on the staff and we went to Arkansas, the year that Arkansas joined the SEC, and how loud it was. But that place tonight was as loud as anything we had ever heard. But our guys never let it bother them. It never broke their nerve."

Were you a little worried about the team after seeing and hearing the crowd?
"No, to me it was interesting to see how this team would respond. They have stepped up to ever challenge, so, as a coach, you sit there and say to yourself, 'let's see what they are going to do tonight.' They've stepped up everytime before. Then, late in the game, when you are down 12 with 6 minutes to go, you sometimes say, 'well, we are beat, let's get ready for the next one.' But with this team, it's, 'let's see if we can come out of this hole.' I don't think there was any doubt in anybodies mind that we could come back and win the game. We had been around these guys long enough to not doubt them."

Did you ever see any fear in your players' eyes when they got down so far in the second half?
"Even when we were down 12, there was no fear in their faces. There was no panicking. It is amazing what this group keeps doing. You talk about a hostile environment, man, it doesn't get any more hostile that than tonight. That place was going nuts."

Talk about Frazier's play in the latter part of the second half.
Winsome Frazier turned this game around when he turned it up and scored those nine straight points. Everybody went with him. When we were one foot in the grave, Winsome just turned it up, got a couple of steals and got out and scored in transition and we are back in the game. That's what this team does; a different guy, every night, steps up."

Where does the ice in their veins come from?
"I think the more you win, the more it breeds confidence."

You've had two extremely emotional wins. Now, you are about to go to a place where no one has won, Arkansas.
"We will prepare like we always do. But these kids, sometimes you step out of their way and let them do their thing. They will find a way to be ready. They don't have mental letdowns. This team hasn't had that all year. That's one thing as a coach you don't worry about because they will be ready to play."


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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