Coach Stansbury talked about his team's victory.
"It was good just to be able to play against somebody else. I don't know how much resistance we had out there. There were some positive things. I thought the second half in particular we got better defensively. I played a lot of people, a lot of different positions. I was trying to give them a little game time and that broke the whole flow of the game.
"If it's a normal season, you have another two weeks before you play your first game. And the first five, six, or seven (games) are at home. That gives you about seven or eight weeks to really get your team prepared. The problem with this is we are on the road next week with three and a half weeks of practice against a heck of a basketball team that no one knows anything about. If they were in our league, they would probably be in the middle; they are that good. All eight starters back from last year are eight top players. Their best two players didn't even play the last fifteen games. Trying to get us so we can play that caliber of team, we have to move away from a lot of basics. We can't just keep harping on the little things. I'm not very good at moving on. I'm one of those guys that wants to get those little things taken care of before you move on. Because of our season, we can't do that. We're making progress. We just have to make it quicker than normal because of the competition level."
Questions and Answers:
Shane Power showed signs of shooting the ball well at the end of last season. He seems to have picked up where he left off.
"He's not even close to where he was last year. Offensively and defensively, he's got so much quickness. He's got his quickness back, he's got his athleticism back. Between him and Frazier, both of those two young men are really shooting that basketball. I think Harper, the more he plays, the more rhythm he's going to get. I thought last week, (Harper) took another step, and shot the ball really well for us. But Frazier and Harper, those two guys are really shooting that basketball. I have to remember, too, probably three out of our top eight players are not out there today. I'm still playing a bunch of guys. It's very evident that Lawrence is one of those guys. Dietric Slater has been one of the my top 8 guys through the preseason."
What did you think about the play of your freshmen?
"I like my freshmen. You see the talent level they have. I like the progress that they have made. They have made unbelievable progress in three weeks. They just have to learn how hard they have to play every possession. They have no clue about that, but no freshmen do. They are used to running to the paint and have one guy to guard. Now, they have to run down the floor and figure out who is where."
How is Lawrence Roberts doing physically?
"We were in practice for about an hour and he breaks his nose in two spots. He will have surgery on Tuesday. Basically, we are without him all week. If we are fortunate to win those two next week and get to New York, then it is something that we will have to judge and see if he is able to go. If he is able to go, he will have to be playing with a big mask. That will hamper him some."
It's unusual to see a player get hurt twice in preseason.
"He had two freak accidents from things he does everyday. It just happened. You would think the two freshmen were after his position."
How deep will this team play throughout the year?
"We have more depth than last year. I know that for sure. There is no question that we have more quality and quantity on the bench than we had last year. Naturally, I'm not going to play 12 or 13 guys as the season goes on. We'll settle in 9 or 10. "
How has Dietric Slater done so far?
"Dietric has been one of my best guards, energy-wise, in the preseason. If we can get him to carry that over into the games, then he is going to be a big asset to us."
How is freshman Walter Sharpe doing?
"Walt's total comfort zone is when he catches the ball in the low post. When he catches it there, watch out. He is comfortable and good there. Everything else is new for him; how hard you have to run in defensive transition, how hard you have to run in offensive transition. Not one trip, but all the trips."
What did you learn about this team that you didn't know before?
"I like the play of my freshmen. I have figured out that Walter Sharpe in the high post against the zone has a lot of ability. You didn't see all of his ability to pass and score. Charles Rhodes along that baseline is going to be a very powerful guy in time.
"I am very pleased with where Wesley Morgan is right now."
You started Piotr Stelmach today. Do you plan on starting him when the regular season rolls around?
"He is the only guy that I have coming back who has experience at that spot. My only other change would be playing (Ontario) Harper there, but I don't want to do that. I'll start Piotr because he gives me experience. Six weeks from now, will he be my best guy there? I don't know that, yet. Right now, he is because he is more dependable. I can trust him to be where he supposed to be. Will his ability keep him from getting it done? I don't know. While the freshmen may have more ability, you never know where they are."
How is Ontario Harper progressing?
"Ontario had his best week this past week. He really shot the basketball good. Is he as good as he was before he got hurt? Absolutely not. But is mind and toughness is. And that is something this team needs. There is no substitute for that."
Who do you think you will redshirt?
"I don't know, yet. All young men have a problem visualizing (redshirting). We have talked about it, but we haven't made any decisions. That is something we will make once we have four or five games under out belts."
Mary Ann Swindoll is the editor of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 14 Bulldogs Ease by PanAmericana, 102-54
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The defending SEC Champion Mississippi State Bulldogs tipped off the 2004-05 basketball season by claiming a 102-54 exhibition game victory over the University of PanAmericana of Mexico Saturday afternoon at MSU's Humphrey Coliseum.
The 14th-ranked Bulldogs, who were presented their 2003-04 league championship rings during pre-game festivities, immediately took command against the outmanned Mexican university team with a 9-0 run through the opening two minutes of play. Senior Shane Power scored the first five points of the game with a jumper and a 3-pointer, as the Bulldogs were able to break UP's pressure defense with ease during the opening minutes of the contest. MSU continued to add to its lead over the course of the opening stanza in building a 25-point cushion, 36-11, by the 8:47 mark of the first half. Shooting 54 percent from the field in the first half and holding the visitors to just 34-percent field-goal shooting through the first 20 minutes, the Bulldogs took a commanding 51-27 halftime advantage.
The margin continued to grow for Mississippi State in the second half, combining a stingy defense with a balanced scoring attack to further wear down the visitors. Eleven different Bulldog players logged at least 10 minutes of playing time in the contest, while a dozen players entered the scoring column for the winners. The Bulldog defense also kept applying pressure throughout the second half, forcing 30 Panther turnovers in the contest. State's decided height advantage was also evident by virtue of a significant 55-23 rebounding advantage, including a 22-2 margin on the offensive boards. Mississippi State led by as many as 50 points late in second half, before senior walk-on guard Seth Cannon fittingly ended the game in style with a three-point basket at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs the commanding 102-54 victory.
"It was good to be able to play against somebody else," said Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury. "I was able to play a lot of people in a lot of different positions just trying to give them game time and that broke the whole flow of the game. I like the progress we're making, though. We just have to make it quicker than normal because of the competition level that we have coming up."
Power, the reigning SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, paced the Bulldog scoring attack with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. With MSU playing without reigning SEC Player of the Year Lawrence Roberts due to a broken nose, senior center Marcus Campbell finished with a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-most 12 rebounds. Senior guard Winsome Frazier and sophomore playmaker Gary Ervin rounded out State's double-digit scorers with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Ervin added six assists, while Frazier, last year's SEC steals champion, was credited with five swipes against PanAmericana.
"Shane's got his quickness and athleticism back," Stansbury noted. "Between him and Frazier both, those two men are really shooting the basketball for us."
The Panthers, who will continue their seven-game, 10-day exhibition tour of the United States with Tuesday's contest at Vanderbilt, were led in their tour opener by Gerson Hernandez and Enrique Hernandez with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The game against PanAmericana marked the Bulldogs' lone exhibition contest of the 2004-05 preseason. Mississippi State will officially begin its 93rd season of basketball competition in the season-opening Coaches vs. Cancer Classic next week (Nov. 11-12) at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. State will open the tournament in Birmingham by taking on Fairfield University out of Connecuticut next Thursday at 8 p.m., and will then meet the winner/loser of Thursday's other opening-round contest pitting Birmingham-Southern and Alabama A&M on Friday. Game times next Friday at the BJCC Arena are 6 and 8 p.m. Tickets for the Birmingham games can be purchased by contacting the MSU Athletic Ticket Office (662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS), the BJCC Arena Box Office (1-800-277-1700), or by ordering online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Source: MSU Media Relations