Your team looked rusty tonight.
"We came out a little slow. I don't know what happened. It has been a long time since we have came out this slow. I guess we just kind of played slow, but we have another game this Sunday."
Do you think you guys were looking toward the game this Sunday against Arizona?
"I don't think so, but, if we did, we shouldn't have. You can't look past USA right now. They are a good, talented team that can run and are athletic."
Talk about getting to play Arizona.
"I've never played them before. Ontario Harper played them about three years ago. We know how they are going to play. We see them on tv, day-in, day-out."
Will it take slowing them down to get the victory?
"You could say we have to keep them below 65 if we can. That is always our team goal. But we know they are going to make some runs and we are going to make some runs, so we have to come out and play our game."
Talk about the big run you guys had in the second half that pretty much put the game away.
"We just wanted to come out and play aggressive. We wanted to just do a good job on the defensive end. They are a good ballclub, but we may have looked past them seeing as how we have to leave right after the game. We usually don't do that. And I don't think we were as focused as we should have been, but we got more focused in the second half."
Talk about the matchup you guys will face Sunday against Arizona.
"They have a talented group. We just have to go out there and play hard and really concentrate from the jump (ball)."
Talk about being a John Wooden Award honoree last year and being in the John Wooden Classic this year.
"It is a great honor. Last year, I learned a lot. We got to hear Coach Wooden speak. I think that was one of the greatest moments in my life. I really enjoyed it. Just going out there and competing in the Wooden Classic is an honor."
You were double teamed every time you got the ball.
"They did a good job every time I touched it to come up with the double. They did a good job rotating. At times, we didn't get as much movement as we wanted to, but I think we will work on that and continue to get better."
Will having faced a top 10 team in Syracuse benefit you going into the game against Arizona and the rest of the season?
"Anytime you play a tough team like Syracuse or Arizona, it is going to do nothing but help you down the line."
What do you think of the play of this team so far this season?
"I think everybody is doing a good job. I think everybody is stepping up and trying to contribute early and contribute often."
Talk about your play tonight.
"It started in practice where they call me the animal because I'm crazy. I'm the one always diving on the floor and giving the team a lot of energy. Tonight, it was my time to show everybody what I do in practice I do in the game. My offensive game wasn't there, but, like I told the guys, it is easy to play defense. It doesn't take that much effort to play defense."
What are your thoughts about getting more minutes as the season progresses?
"He told me when I get out there to make easy plays. Usually, I start off nervous and I have to get used to playing and making easy plays and not turning the ball over. I guess I did that tonight."
What does Shane Power bring to this team?
"Shane is one of leaders even though he is kind of quiet. He leads by example most of the time. And he is a great shooter."
How much was the team's play tonight effected by the long layoff?
"I don't really think it was the long layoff. Coach (Stansbury) said how you practice is how you play. And I guess we came out the beginning of the week in practice a little sluggish. I think that is the same thing that happened tonight."
How good is the South Alabama team?
"They are a very good team. They are versatile. They played a small lineup that could run, spread the court and knock down open shots."
Talk about the big game coming up against Arizona.
"I think that was the problem. I think the guys were a little too focused on going out to play Arizona instead of finishing business down here. Arizona is a very good team. They are very quick in transition. They have a lot of athletes that can get up and down the court, especially their big guys"
Talk about the long break you have after the Arizona game.
"It is probably a good thing. We are going to California to play a tough team, then we get back for finals (exams). Then, we get a lot of practice time. We really haven't gotten that because we started the season so early."
Will you try to slow Arizona down or try to run and gun with them?
"We are just going to try to play our game and not worry too much about what their guys do. We will come out and defend and try to be the tougher team."
Talk about the play of Dietric Slater and what he brings to this team.
"He does the same thing in practice. We expect when he gets in a game that he will hustle, dives for loose balls, get offensive rebounds. He does all the little things to make our team better."
What was the reason for the sluggish first half, the nine-day layoff?
"No, it was not being ready to play. We have to find a way to get off to a better start. We haven't started a game right this year and it is going to cost us. It cost us in the second half against Syracuse. They started the second half a lot better than we did. And we wasted 20 minutes of hard work against Syracuse."
Talk about taking on a team the caliber of Arizona.
"It is exciting. It's what you practice for. It's why you run all the suicides and sidelines. When you are working hard, staying here to 6 or 7 o'clock, that's what you use as motivation. We have a chance to step up and make a statement. We are looking forward to it."
What do you expect the Arizona game to be like?
"I think it is going to be a drag out game. I don't expect an 80 or 90 point game. I expect both teams to play really great defense and really rebound the ball. I expect it to come down to the last 5 or 6 minutes."
Talk about your role on this team.
"I think I am able to contribute more to this team this season, whether it is knocking down shots or driving in and getting a hold of the ball. I think I am a little bit better in each facet of the game."
How do you see yourself as a leader on this team?
"One thing I try to do is lead by example. I make every line drill in practice. I am always trying to defend and rebound. And I think that is what we need. We need guys to step up and do that. And we need our young guys to follow. They have to do a better job of following."
Talk about Dietric Slater's play.
"We call Dietric the animal. He gets a little embarrassed when I call him that, but that is what he is. He comes in with so much energy and enthusiasm. I'm willing to say that he is our best defender. We really need that spark off the bench from him."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.