MSU players talk about their win

Mississippi State basketball players talked about their 82-81 overtime win over Alabama.


Branden Vincent (5 pts, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 0 turnovers, 30 minutes)

Was this game a perfect example of what this team is made of, you were down by 18 in the second half, you never gave up and you came back and won it?
"This is a great example of what kind of parts we have as far as trying to reach our goal of winning a national championship. Everybody stepped up and played hard. That is what you have to have to win on the road in a tournament."

Did you guys have any doubts that you could pull it out even when you got down by 18?
"I don't think we really had any doubts. We knew we could pull it out. It was just a matter of doing it, taking our time, having a lot of poise and controlling the tempo of the game."

Last game against Alabama, they got a little cocky at the end of the game. Did that give you some incentive in the second half?
"Yeah, it did. They started being a little cocky again early in the first half. They looked at our bench and laughed, stuff like that. When you play teams like that, you know you have to come out and prove a point."


Timmy Bowers (20 pts, 4 rebs, 1 steal, 8 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers, 44 minutes)

What were you thinking when you tied up the game to take it into overtime and when you won it in overtime?
"Being a senior, a guy who has that experience of being in those situations before, obviously I want the ball in my hands. The main thing I'm thinking is get the best shot that I can. You don't want to take a forced jumped shot. You want to try to get something going to the basket so players are able to get an offensive rebound. I think on both shots I took pretty good shots. If I had missed it, I had Lawrence and Branden there for offensive rebounds."

On that overtime shot, you didn't give anybody much time to get a rebound since there was just a little over a second left after you scored.
"I didn't want to give them any time to score. After the Kentucky situation, we knew 2 seconds or more is enough time to score a basket."

On the game-winner you seemed to be dribbling trying to find a close shot. When did you realize you had the shot you wanted?
"Coach (Stansbury) had called a set, but I didn't want to run the set because I thought it would take too much time off the clock. I just kind of gave them a little hesitation and saw it open for just a split second, so I tried to take it. Once I got there, I tried a shot fake to get the big guys to jump, then I tried to take it up strong and try to get the foul if I didn't make the shot."

Were you a little worried that the shot might not go in when it hit the rim?
"I wasn't worried. I put it up there pretty soft and thought it was good when I let it go."

During the time you were dribbling looking for your shot, did you not hear the Alabama fans yelling?
"It was loud, but as a player you just kind of block it out. You've been in those situations before where you have a hostile environment on the road. It's something you thrive for as a player."

What happened after you made the shot? Did the crowd noise go dead?
"I noticed it went dead except for the Mississippi State fans. But we knew the game wasn't over because we still had one second to do. Obviously, we wanted to get back on defense and not give up an easy layup. They threw it long, the guy caught it and knocked it down and that was it."

Were you able to here the MSU crowd noise even near the end?
"I definitely heard Mississippi State out there, especially when we were making our run late in the second half and in the overtime. They were probably louder than Alabama fans."


Lawrence Roberts (18 pts, 21 rebs, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 43 minutes)

Have you ever had this many rebounds in a college game before?
"I had 20, but this is now my high."

What did you guys do when you got down by 18 in the second half?
"We knew we had one more run in us and we knew we had to give our all."

Is this the most tired that you have ever felt after a game?
"Oh yeah, it drained us. We are going to need this time to recuperate and get ready for the big games coming up."


Shane Power (11 pts, 5 rebs, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 37 minutes)

When you down by 18, what was your strategy as a team?
"Don't give up because we have come back before. We knew every possession was going to count, so we said forget about the score and play as hard as we could every possession. We started making a run, but they made a couple of runs, too, in the second half. We had to weather those and keep pushing and keep pushing. This win, honestly, took everything that we had in our bodies. It really did."

Why was it such an exhausting game?
"Anytime you are down by 18 on an opponent's home floor and they have the crowd advantage and the energy advantage, to scrap and claw like that, then have to go into overtime, it really takes the most out of you."

What do you do to get enough energy to come back and win a game like this?
"It is guys getting together and it is looking at your teammates and saying, 'I'm not going to let him down and him looking at you and saying I'm not going to let you down.' That is what we did down the stretch: We said we are not losing this game."

How important was this win?
"This is one of those wins that was really special. It is really special to end the (regular) season this way."

This was a typical example of how well this team plays as a team.
"It really was. Our stars were stars tonight. Our role players played their roles to the best of their abilities. Our bench came up big. This was a complete team effort. I want to say it is a complete program effort. Our fans kept us going. When we had no energy left, we were looking up there in the corner at the very top of the gym and they were going nuts and they really kept us going. So, this was a complete program well tonight."

Talk about the defensive effort of your team tonight.
"I really don't think this was a complete defensive effort tonight. This was the first time we've had some guys break down a little bit and not play their best on defense. But, we made the plays when we had to and got the stops when we had to."

I know you talked about the fans at the game, but how important is it to the team to see about 500 fans waiting to greet you guys when you try into the parking lot of the Hump?
"Fans add to the momentum of this team. After every road game, coming home to this crowd, it just adds to the momentum. This is how programs are built and stay established for 10, 20, 30 years. This is it right here, we are going through it right now as we speak. And it is a special thing."


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.


Gene's Page Top Stories