Defensively, it looked like you guys were a little tired from the South Carolina game.
"Yeah, I think we were, especially in that second half. Probably with about a 12 minutes to go our defense started relaxing a little bit. We were getting a little tired, but we need to do a better job of fighting through that."
Now, you have a week off before the next game.
"I am really looking forward to a day or two off. We have some guys a little sick, a little banged up. This week we can heal up."
How much did it take out of you guys going on the road to two of the longest trips in the SEC back to to back?
"The biggest thing is it takes so much energy to win on the road. That South Carolina game we had to get down and dirty and scrape tooth and nail to pull it out. Then, we had to come back and get up at 8 o'clock in the morning and go to class."
Do you celebrate on the court after the victories, or do you be as business-like as you can after the victory?
"A little of both, although we tend to do our jumping around in the locker room. On the court, the first thing you want to do is shake the hands of the other team to show them respect for giving it their all. Sometimes, we point to those fans that make those long road trips. That is special."
I've asked this before, but how is it getting on campus with the students as you win more and more games?
"It is getting more exciting. Our students have really embraced us. The energy is really helping us, it is even helping us in practice. Sometimes, you may not be having a good day at school or you are tired and you have guys in your classes telling you 'big game, man, we are routing for you.' It pumps you up even for practice. I really think this energy that they students are creating and we are creating within ourselves is helping us to stay focused."
Coach Stansbury said he is now looking at the top of the mountain, the SEC Championship. Are you guys now not only looking at it one game at a time but also at the greater picture?
"The only thing we are looking at is we control our own destiny. Our eyes are on that SEC crown but we have to take it one game at a time. Now, other big things are coming into play like a number 1 seed. I don't think people realize how extremely valuable number 1 seeds are. I was a 2 seed and got beat by a number 15 seed. The 15 seeds are all pretty tough teams. A couple of 16 you might get lucky and they not be that tough. The tournaments are set up for the number 1 seeds."
Like fans and media, you guys are human. You have a week off. Are you going to peek at the polls and see if you move up to 4th in the rankings just for the fun of it?
"We realize we will be ranked high, but this team has some major goals; the SEC crown and a number 1 seed. We are concentrating right now and, I'm telling you, we are taking it one game at a time. I think that is the main reason we have been so consistent this year."
This team is so intense and so focused. How do you guys maintain that?
"That feeling of winning in front of 19,000 fans that are rooting against you never gets old."
Talk about the game?
"We wanted to come out aggressive, push the ball hard, make them collapse inside and we did a great job of knocking down some shots."
Coach Stansbury mentioned that you guys were getting really fatigued in this game. Did you notice the same thing?
"Most definitely, but I think it was more mental due to coming off such a tough game (at South Carolina)."
Was this game more of a business like approach than the South Carolina game?
"We took the same approach for both games. We played hard, knowing that they were going to try and get their crowd involved and knowing that they were going to give us their best shot."
You got a big lead, then they made some runs, but you came back with your own runs. That was very important, wasn't it?
"Oh yeah, on the road, you always want to counter their runs because they have the crowd behind them."
How much do you feel you need this off-week? Were you dead tired at the end of the game?
"Not really, but this week is what we need."
How significant is it to come home for your second straight road game and see all these fans waiting here for you?
"It is great. It gives us extra motivation."
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.