"This was a very good Arkansas basketball team Coach Heath has done a tremendous job with that team. There is no question that they came in here playing about as well as anybody in the league.
"I am very proud of our basketball team, not just due to the win, but due to how we won it under all the circumstances. I think we proved today that we can win without Winsome Frazier. There was some concerns about that. Naturally, even though we won the game, there are some things we will never have without Winsome. Naturally, no one can simulate the pressure that Frazier brings. But I thought we played with much more confidence, much more poise. We came out and started the game by throwing the first punch and never let us. And we did that for both starts, the first half and the second half.
"It was a great team effort from a balance standpoint. It wasn't dominated by Lawrence Roberts like it was last year. He had a great game, like always, but I thought we had great balance from all the guys who played."
Talk about the energy Marcus Campbell brought to the team early on.
"That's all we ask of Marcus, to play hard and play with energy. When he does those two things, everything else improves about him. He scores better because he'll run in transition. And he rebounds better. He started the game by playing with great energy. We probably should have played him more minutes the first half. But I got him back in there in the second half and he continued to do what he was doing.
"When someone goes down, someone else has to pick up other things. Today, Campbell was one of those guys that gave us those things."
Why didn't Campbell get more minutes in the first half?
"We were playing pretty good without him, too. I thought that Ontario Harper also played well. He was playing well off the dribble and getting to the foul line. And they were going small some and the matchups weren't quite as good."
Did you expect your team to come out and play this well after the way you played against Tennessee?
"I was hoping we would. I didn't know we would. I didn't think we would throw a punch like we did. What was it, 18 to 2 or 21 to 2? I absolutely didn't think that would happen.
"I thought that we had great energy, defensively. That was the area that I was so pleased with. There was no question that Jamall (Edmondson) was at a mismatch all game long. He was guarding (Jonathon) Modica or (Ronnie) Brewer, a couple of guys who were taller. But, to his credit, probably the first time in his life, he really defended with some urgency. That is something that we have to start getting from him."
What does Jamall have to do to offset his lack of height when defending in the SEC?
"He has to use toughness and quickness to offset it. And I thought he did that well today. He's not a person that is going to contest and block shots. So, the way he has to limit guys shooting is to get up under them a little bit and to use the strength he has. He did that coming off screens today. He used his body on the screens as well as he has done it.
"The more he plays, the more comfortable he will get and the more comfortable everybody will get with him. I saw him do some things tonight that I haven't seen him do in a while. He put the ball on the floor, got in the lane and made some passes. As he gets more comfortable, those are the little things that will come."
You talked after the Tennessee game how disappointed you were with how your team started the first half of that game. Did you address that in practice Thursday and Friday?
"We addressed that at halftime during the game. It wasn't something that I had to address because everybody knew how we started. But, none of us knew the mental impact of playing without Winsome Frazier. And it gets exposed on the road more than it does at home. We now have to go on the road and find ways to do the things that we did tonight at home."
What was the key to holding them to just 4 points in the first ten minutes of the game?
"We've done a pretty good job defensively. We are leading the league in (defensive) field goal (percentage) with 38%. And I think we held them to 30%. We are leading the league in (defensive) three-point field goal percentage at 28%. They shot 23%. They came in second in the league with 42% three-point shooting. We were pretty consistent again."
What happened on the double technical with Lawrence Roberts?
"I didn't see it due to how stacked up it was. The explanation to me was that neither one of them would let go of the ball and they were saying not nice things to each other."
Did Lawrence get hurt on that play?
"He got his tooth chipped a little bit on a play later in the second half. It wasn't that play."
Talk about going to Alabama this week.
"There is no question that Alabama is one of the best teams in the country. Offensively, they can score at all five positions. They are big. They have two perimeter guys in Shelton and Winston Kennedy that shoot it and can play off the dribble. They have a point guard who has played really well for them. On the road there, it will be very, very difficult. But we are looking forward to going over 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.