"We congratulate Mississippi State. They did what they had to to win the game. We couldn't quite make enough plays after digging ourselves into a little bit of a hole in the beginning. You need to play close to flawless if you are going to come back from that. And we were far from flawless. I thought that our guys played hard and gave tremendous effort. I was proud of our freshmen. In a game where our veterans weren't getting a lot done, our freshmen came in and really gave us a lift. But we couldn't quite get it done at the end."
Marcus Campbell was getting a lot of touches down low for Mississippi State while Lawrence Roberts wasn't. Was that what you hoped for coming into the game?
"We had a problem down low because you focus all your attention on (Lawrence Roberts). You have to. I don't know how many Campbell got in the first half, but Roberts didn't score. We'll take that no matter the combination. Rick must have done a better job of lobbying (the officials) than I did at halftime because I saw him chase them off the court. Roberts shot one free throw in the first half and 15 in the second. I need to get some lobbying tips from him."
What did your guys do to keep Roberts from scoring a point in the first half?
"I thought that we were active and physical. We built a crowd around him and did a nice job. Our guys fought him. And you have to because he comes down there wanting it every possession and does a great job of getting in a position for it, a great job of catching it and a great job of finishing it. Some other guys got loose on us in the first half, but we did a nice job on him. But he, obviously, had a better time of it in the second half."
Was it disheartening to hold Roberts to zero points and still be trailing by 9 at halftime?
"No, it was disheartening to be trailing by nine at halftime because we got off to a 11-0 deficit at the start of the game. There were some things that we weren't doing well, but guarding him was not one of them at the time. That was a big key for us coming into the game."
Your free throw shooting wasn't very good tonight. Talk about that.
"When you are shooting free throw shots you want your best shooters to shoot them if at all possible. Alex and Corey are two of our best and they are 4 for 7. They were both shooting over 80% for the year. But you can't walk out there and shoot for them."
Was it a positive to see your freshmen helping you out when you made the run to tie the game in the second half?
"It's either a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it. It's a positive that our freshmen were able to get us in the game and give us a chance to win. It's a negative that they were forced into that situation because you would like to start off well with your veteran group. We started our veterans in hope of getting off to a good start."
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 email@example.com.