Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury talked about his team's 105-91 win over to win at least a share of the SEC regular season championship."> Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury talked about his team's 105-91 win over to win at least a share of the SEC regular season championship.">

Bulldogs defeat Tigers to win SEC championship

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/coaches/basketball/stansbury-action.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury talked about his team's 105-91 win over to win at least a share of the SEC regular season championship.

Opening comments

Capping off the home slate with SEC Championship.
"What a way to cap off the final game at home but to win the SEC Championship. I couldn't be prouder of our kids. This is something that takes a long time to get to. To be able to keep their focus and to play with the energy and toughness that they have played with is amazing. They deserve all the credit."

From the start, there was no doubt who was the better team.
"With the way we came out tonight, it was very obvious who was going to win that basketball game. When we shoot the ball like that, particularly at home, we are hard to beat. It was a great team effort."

Talk about Frazier's three-point shooting.
"You know he is going to take a bad shot every now and then, but it is hard to tell him when to shoot and when not to shoot, because he is going to make some of the shots. He has come out in a zone like that three out of the last four or five times. At Arkansas and at Vandy he was in that zone and tonight he was unbelievable. I think we have all seen improvement in his confidence level as the season as gone on."

Were you taking the threes because they were giving you the threes?
"They weren't trying to take anybody away. They were playing zone to start the game. Their philosophy was that they were going to choose their poison and the poison would be to make us shoot from the outside. We knew Timmy Bowers would make some shots. Then, when Frazier got into that zone there was no sense in even thinking about throwing it inside. He wouldn't have listen even if I had told him to."

Was this the most complete game of the season for your team?
"It was one of those games where we were able to play loose because we got a lead. We scored a lot of points. We rebounded the ball well. It was a pretty good outing."

Talk about how important it was to be able to let all the seniors play in this game.
"That is special to let them get in there and enjoy the game, give the crowd an opportunity to give them the chance to wish them their last farewell."

How important has Timmy Bowers been to your team the past four years?
"Timmy Bowers, in my opinion, is the best guard to ever play at Mississippi State. You can back that up with a lot of facts. The first thing you look at is winning. There is not another player in the history of Mississippi State that has won more games than Timmy Bowers. We all know what he has meant to all those other teams and the roles he has played. He could have averaged a lot more points than he did, but those roles he had to play are what helped us win championships three out of the last four years. Winning has a lot to do with how important a player is. We are going to miss him. Everybody also knows what Branden Vincent has meant to this team."

Your team really looked motivated tonight.
"We just came off two great wins, LSU and Vanderbilt, so we were playing with a lot of confidence. It is not like we needed a lot of motivation tonight. It was Senior Night and everybody knew we were playing for an SEC Championship."

Talk about how well Branden Vincent accepted his role this year.
"Lawrence and Timmy get a lot of the publicity. And they both deserve all that they get. But Branden Vincent may be our most valuable player. I have told this to him many times in front of the team. For him to play the role he plays, it takes a very special person. Everybody couldn't play that role. To come out and be our best defender, be our best rebounder and play that piece out there, it takes a very special person to play that role."

Now that you have won the SEC Championship, are you now thinking about trying to get that number 1 seed?
"We are not thinking about that number one seed. We really aren't. We know this: We have to keep winning basketball games. Tonight was a goal we had from day one. We also understand there is one more game left in this season. Then, we understand there is a three-game season left, the SEC Tournament. There is no question that our basketball team wants to go to that SEC Tournament and do what we have done the last two years, play in that championship game. We won it the year before last and last year we felt like we could have and should have won it. This team wants to go over there and have an opportunity to win another SEC Tournament Championship."

Now that you have won the West and won the regular season championship, do you think there will be a letdown against Alabama this Saturday?
"Our next game will be our biggest game of the year because it is our next basketball game. It is very important. Our kids will be ready to play Saturday afternoon.When you look at everything, you don't have to worry about this bunch. They are getting to cut the nets and getting a little joy from that, but I promise you they will be focused. Those nets aren't all that they want."

Was there a time during the season where you thought this team could be a championship team?
"Yes there was. People forget about this. Everybody looks at those top 4 or 5 teams, St. Joe, Stanford, Duke, and they are all great team. But there is one thing different about our team compared to those teams; they had their entire teams returning. Most of those teams, return 4 or 5 starters. Our team had 1 starter returning, 1 starter and 2 other players who had played any minutes, Branden Vincent and Winsome Frazier. That is what makes this team so special."

Because this team stays so focused and have so many offensive weapons, has it been an easy team to coach?
"This team has been a great team to coach, just like my last two teams. But I think this team has shown another level of maturity. Very seldom to I have to go to the whip. You don't have to with this bunch. They understand when to turn it on and when to turn it off. It comes back to this: As good of players they are, they are better people. That is where it starts."

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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