His team's play. - "I told my team sometimes you get wins even though you aren't very pleased even though you won. Tonight, I was pleased with how we got it. I thought we showed another level of maturity tonight. I thought that we took a very good Arkansas-Little Rock team and, basically, from the get-go set the tempo in how the game was going to be played defensively. We got a lot of stops and we got out and ran in transition. I thought we did a much better job of getting the basketball inside, particularly in the first half. When that happens, you get a higher percentage shot. You get to the free throw line and you get easier shots for other people."
His team's bench play. - "I thought that we had great play off the bench with Dietric Slater. He brings so much energy to your basketball team. I thought that Wesley Morgan brought some things to our team. That is what we have to continue to have, guys coming off the bench and being productive. Not just playing minutes, but being productive. I thought we had that tonight."
Arkansas-Little Rock - "This (Arkansas) Little Rock is a team that took a Southern Illinois team and beat them by 17 Tuesday. (Southern Illinois) had beaten Vanderbilt prior to that in double figures two weeks ago. They are a team that has seven seniors on their team and are a team that we struggled against in Little Rock last season."
What was the key to the game tonight?
"To defend them, number one. And we really rebounded the basketball. At halftime it was 25 to 11 and they had 2 offensive rebounds. I also thought that Gary (Ervin) did a much better job of pushing in transition. He made better decisions at the end. And that is what we have to have."
What did Morgan and Slater provide your team tonight?
"The crowd loves both of them because they bring energy. That is what you need off the team, energy. I think that Dietric and Wesley were the two guys that got us going in the first half. We all know when Dietric gets that basketball you just have to sit down, hold on and hope there is more good that happens than bad. He plays so hard defensively I'll live with the mistakes that he is going to make offensively."
How important was it for your team to come out after the loss to Arizona and play well?
"I wasn't pleased with the Arizona game. Our team has to be better than that. We have to execute better. But there is probably no question that we did gain some confidence at the end because we did fight back and put ourselves in the position to win the game. I was concerned about this basketball team going into this game tonight because we have had an abbreviated week of practice due to finals. I knew looking at this (Arkansas) Little Rock team that they were coming in here playing with a lot of confidence. Put those two things together and that is why I was concerned. That is why I was really proud of the way our team came out and defended and rebounded."
Are you better defensively than you thought you would be?
"I knew going into the season we wouldn't be anywhere as good as we were last season because we lost two of our best defenders. Are we where we need to be defensively? No, but I think we are making progress. We have to continue to develop that toughness and leadership."
Is Lawrence Roberts' nose completely healed?
"I think so. (The doctors) told him to wear the mask for four weeks. He has no soreness and the doctor said it's fine to play without it, so I would say it's totally healed."
You now go on the road for a couple of games this coming week.
"It's never easy going on the road. It will be New Orleans' biggest game of the year. They have a young man on their team who is a preseason player of the year. He got 35 (points) against LSU at LSU two or three weeks ago. So, we know they will be very tough. And this will be our first road test because we have been at neutral sites. This will be good for us. This is what you need to toughen you up for another level. When things don't go right for you, how do you respond? We need to know that."
What were you doing late in the first half and early in the second half when you were dominating them defensively?
"I think we were playing with a lot of energy. Plus, they are a team that runs a lot of sets. I thought, after they ran sets early in the game, I don't remember them running anymore after that. I thought we pressured the basketball. Gary (Ervin) did a great job staying on their point guard. (Winsome) Frazier was up in the wings. And we made them do some things that they weren't comfortable doing. We were limiting them to one shot. We were making them run in transition. I think we really got a couple of their guys tired early in the game."
Shane Power made some great feeds during the game.
"He led our team in assists tonight. It wasn't one of his better shooting nights, but Shane will do other things when he isn't shooting the basketball. Some guys, when they aren't making baskets for you, may not help your team. But Shane does a little of everything pretty well in so many areas. He has a settling effect out there."
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.