MSU players talk about their loss

Mississippi State basketball players talked about their 77-73 loss to Alabama.


Winsome Frazier (12 pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 32 minutes)

Was it just one of those nights where they hit everything and you guys struggle?
"Yeah, they came out firing. They didn't miss too many field goals and hit tough shots. We were playing hard on defense. Kennedy Winston came out and played a good game."

What will be your mentality when you hit the floor again?
"We can't play around. We have to put this game behind us. We are going to emphasize defense in practice."

How frustrating was it for you when they were making their three-point shots and you were struggling to get one to fall?
"It felt bad because that is one of our strengths. I went 1 for 8 and Timmy (Bowers) went 3 for 7. I can't explain it. But, it's also one of their strengths, because they are leading the league in three points."

Talk about the 12-point run they made at the start of the second half. Were they doing anything special?
"No, they weren't doing anything special. I don't know if we had a mental lapses because we were playing physical."

You lost one game of margin to Kentucky in the SEC championship hunt but you still have a one-game lead with four games left.
"We have four games, two home, two away. We'll take this game and learn from it. We have to come out and hurt somebody, put a dagger in somebody else."

Does the number 5 ranking mean anything at this point?
"Duke was up there and lost two. Rankings don't really matter. Rankings aren't out there playing, players are out there playing."

But you now have a target on your back.
"When you are ranked in the top five, who's not going to come out and play their best (against you). We got the best from Alabama. That is probably the best they have played this year. Every team is going to come in like that against us."


Lawrence Roberts (23 pts, 8 rebs, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 39 minutes)

Talk about their zone giving you guys problems.
"They really did a good job on us trying to slow us down, getting us out of our offense."

Talk about the roll they got on with the four straight threes to start the second half.
"They came out and continued to shoot the threes in the second half. If they are making shots, we can't get any baskets in transition."

Did you ever sense that you were one basket, one shot, one play away from getting on the kind of roll that you've done so many times this season?
"Yeah, but I think it was more on the defensive end. We really couldn't get on a roll by feeding off our defense."

Where do you think you broke down defensively?
"Lack of concentration. We really didn't mentally get down and grind it out toward the end."

Were you keyed up after being ranked 4th?
"The main thing we wanted to do is stay focused because we knew we had a lot of ballgames left. Right now, we are concentrating on finishing out with some wins."

Do you think it will be business as usual in practice after this loss?
"It has always been business as usual. But, now, we are going to play with a sense of urgency because we just came off a loss and we have a tough team coming in Wednesday (LSU). We are really going to go after these few days in practice."

Winsome Frazier said this loss might be good for you. Coach Stansbury said no loss is ever good. What do you think?
"No loss is good. The main thing is bouncing back and playing hard."

With about 4 to 5 minutes to go after Timmy Bowers hit a three to cut it to two, Winston hit a three-point play on the other end to push it back out to five. Did you think that was the turning point that gave the momentum back to Alabama?
"Yeah, they countered us everytime. We would come down and hit a big shot. They responded. That was the biggest thing. We didn't stop them once we made the big shots."

The starters played a lot of minutes today. Do you feel fatigue was a factor in this game?
"No, I don't think so. We started off slow. We tried to stay aggressive. But the main thing was we weren't getting anything off of the defense in transition."

Did Alabama do anything different with their zone?
"No, they were just sinking in. That was the biggest thing. They were just doing a good job sinking inside out. They have obviously been working on it and executed it."


Timmy Bowers (14 pts, 1 rebs, 3 steals, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, 38 minutes)

Is there such thing as a good loss?
"I think there is such a thing as a good loss. But I don't think today's game was one that you would say we needed that loss. We wanted to give ourselves a little extra leeway in the SEC run. Today, we went backwards. We'll learn from it and get better."

Talk about that 12-point run they made at the start of the second half.
"We came back in transition a couple of times and didn't find our man on defense and they just knocked down the shots."

Is it harder to play ranked number 4 because the target is so big on your back?
"No, it is a challenge. We knew they were going to be keying in on us whether we are 4th or 25th. We knew we were going to get Alabama's best shot. They came in and took it to us. You have to give them a lot of credit. They came in with a lot of confidence and shot lights out."

Do you think mental tiredness or physical fatigue played a factor in your defensive play today?
"We had guys out there that are capable of defending and locking down on guys but (Kennedy Winston) just got hot. Once you get in a zone, you get in a zone."

You shot the ball really well against Arkansas, then tonight the three-pointers wouldn't fall. Is that the nature of your offense?
"That's the nature of any team. You are going to have nights where guys shoot lights out and you are going to have nights where guys struggle. Tonight was one of those nights for us."

You lost a game to Kentucky today, but you are still one game ahead of them.
"We took a step backwards today. Kentucky is right on our butt, but I still think we can win (the SEC championship) if we take care of business. We have four games left, two at home and two on the road. We are capable of going in and winning anywhere."

I guess the key is how this team responds to this loss?
"Oh definitely. That is the key to all great teams. If you want to be great, you have to respond to losses and you have to take it personally."

Coach Stansbury said despite the loss you are still the same team.
"We are definitely the same team. I think this loss will only help us out. Guys will take it upon their shoulders to do even more to win. The intensity in Monday will be outstanding and carry over to Wednesday."


Shane Power (9 pts, 3 rebs, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 33 minutes)

What were the keys to this victory for Alabama?
"If Kennedy Winston can hit shots on myself, Winsome Frazier and Branden Vincent, they probably deserve to win. We are three guys that usually can stop you. Alabama hit the shots they had to, some unbelievable, ridiculous shots all game long. And they got a little cocky, too. And if you think we are not going to remember that when we go into their place, you are nuts.

"Number two, we weren't as sharp and crisp as we have been in past games. I think the week off hurt us badly, just from the fact that when you play every three day that keeps you sharp, keeps you focused. There was just no way to generate that in practice this week.

"This (loss) was obviously disappointing, hugely disappointing. I really feel we haven't put together a full game here at home. We have not played 40 minutes of good basketball in Humphrey Coliseum, yet. I don't know if we feel more pressured at home, if we feel like we don't want to let our fans down, but we haven't played 40 minutes of good basketball at home and we have done that almost every road game. And that is frustrating."

Were you guys tired today? To me, it seemed like you were at times.
"Again, that goes back to not playing on Wednesday, not having 40 minutes of intense game on Wednesday. It just keeps you sharp when you play. We just didn't come out with that sharpness and crispness that we needed tonight."

Going back to the shooting of Kennedy Winston, do you feel you guys played well against him defensively and that he was just hitting shots that normally wouldn't go in?
"I thought that we did a decent job on him, but he was hitting shots over the top of us from 19 feet fading away all night long. And you couldn't really body up with him on his drives for fear of what you guys saw. Stuff I can't comment on. If you bodied up on him it was going to be negative for your team. We just got caught in a tough situation with them to be honest."


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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