"Arkansas had been playing as well as anybody in this league lately and we knew this was going to be a very difficult game. We took their best shot and found a way to survive."
MSU's first win at Bud Walton Arena.
"Like I told our team, this was not a long-time coming because this was the first time this team had come up here and played in Bud Walton. Whatever happened before, this team wasn't a part of it. I knew this team had what it took to come up here and win."
Concerns about this game.
"My concerns were, could we, after Wednesday night, play with the energy that it was going to take, physically and mentally, to win. It was very obvious that we just got physically wore out tonight. The first half, I didn't think we had the zip about us that we had been having. I saw some fatigue in us. We were fortunate to get a lead that allowed us to play some zone in the first half that allowed us to rest some."
Second half strategy.
"When we got to the locker room up eight, we had to find a way in the second half. Our plan was we weren't going to play as much zone unless we stretched it back out. We were fortunate to stretch it out and were able to play zone. We weren't very good in our zone but we were able to rest in it. Arkansas stepped up and made some shots and kept making shots, getting the crowd back in it. But, to our team's credit, we found a way to make offensive and defensive plays when we had to, to get the win."
His team's play the last two minutes of the game.
"You have to be able to execute when the game's on the line and play with confidence and poise. Our kids came down when it was a three-point game and ran a backdoor play for (Winsome) Frazier. We were tough enough to get the ball where we had to and got him on the backdoor and got him fouled. He went to the free throw line and made both to put us back up five. That was a huge play. To be able to execute when the game is on the line is huge. A lot of teams can do it when the game's loose but can you do it when it counts and is tough? Our kids found a way to do it. Then, defensively, we went back down and made the stops when we had to."
Importance of Wednesday's open date.
"My thinking is a little different than it was the last (open date). The last time, I didn't think our team needed as much rest because we had been playing at home. Right now, this week's (open date) comes at a great time. This week, we have come out of two of the most difficult road environments in this league. Our team left a lot in Columbia (South Carolina) and, whatever they had left, they mustered it back up and left it all here in Fayetteville tonight. Gary (Ervin) is hurt, so this off-week comes at a good time for him."
Next two games are both at home.
"The good thing is we are back home for two games now. We have a week off, then are back home against Alabama Saturday, and Wednesday we have LSU."
Climbing to the top of the mountain (SEC Championship).
"This past week was two more steps to the top of that mountain. We have been talking about the top of that mountain from day one. Every little step you take, you have gotten closer. Now, we can see what is at the top. Before, you couldn't visualize it; you just had to take those steps. Now, we can see it because it is five steps away. We are going to keep our eyes set on what is at the top of that mountain."
The importance of MSU's fans.
"We've had great crowds and that is what makes the Hump so special right now. We also have a tremendous bunch of fans up here in Fayetteville."
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.