MSU Players Talked About Their Victory

Mississippi State players, Marcus Campbell, Lawrence Roberts Ontario Harper and Shane Power, talked about their 60-54 victory over Vanderbilt before 8,235 fans in Humphrey Coliseum Saturday night.

Lawrence Roberts (38 minutes, 15 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assist, 3 steals, 4 turnovers)

Did you get frustrated in the first half due to not being able to score?
"Oh no, I was cool in the first half."

Do you remember when you were held scoreless in the first half?
"I couldn't even tell you."

Were they doing anything different on defense against you in the first half?
"No, they were just physical. There weren't a lot of points scored in the first half."

What did you do in the second half that helped you score your 15 points?
"I continued to play hard. I just stayed aggressive."

What was said during the timeout right before Vanderbilt tied it up?
"We have lapses sometimes in the games. We just wanted to buckle down and concentrate and continue doing a good job on the defensive end. We lost sight of a couple of their guys and they knocked down some big shots."

How big was it for Shane Power to have such a big first half with them doubling up on you and keeping you scoreless?
"It was great. A lot of times Frazier would knock down shots like that and have those games where he would be incredible from the start. Shane came on and did that tonight."

How big was it to come out and have this kind of game after the Auburn loss last weekend?
"It feels great, but, on the other hand, we are at home again. We haven't been having trouble at home. We haven't lost confidence playing at home."

Were you more emotional tonight than you have been?
"We had to come out with a lot of energy. We got together and talked about what we needed to do for these last few games in the SEC. Energy and toughness is what we had to bring."

When they started making those three-point shots that ultimately helped them to tie the game, was there any concern in your mind?
"No. We knew they were going to make some shots because they are a great three-point shooting team, so we just had to contest as many as we could."

The players had a team meeting earlier this week. Who brought that up?
"The coaches and captains decided to have it."

Why did you guys feel you had to have the meeting?
"Because of lack of ability to win on the road. Anytime you lack that, it comes from not playing as a team. All you have on the road is the team. We just wanted to get it back to playing as a team on the road. At home, we do incredible things and guys have extra confidence. On the road, a guy may miss a shot and he may be out of it for the night. We just had to talk about that."

Do you feel you accomplished that in the meeting?
"Yeah, I think we took a step forward, but we haven't been on the road yet, so we can't say for sure. We've always played good at home. The real test will be when we go on the road and win one."

Considering that most of the road losses have come since Winsome Frazier was injured, do you think you guys might be concerned about something that may not be because you aren't playing as a team but because Frazier is not playing?
"No, irregardless of whether he is here or not, we still need to have some of the other guys step up and play hard. If a guy comes out and scores 30 and we lose by 50, he can't do it all. No matter whether we are undermanned or not, we can compete better than we have been on the road."

Marcus Campbell (25 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers)

How difficult was it to defend their offense?
"It was hard. They run a real complex offense. It is long, drawn out and very complex. You have to stay focused the whole game as you saw tonight. They tied it up one time tonight. Any time you lose focus, it can hurt you with them."

Lawrence struggled in the first half scoring, but you found some openings.
"I guess, but we used a collective effort. When things don't work, we try to find a different way to accomplish our goals."

Did it help the team to see Winsome Frazier in uniform even though he didn't play?
"Definitely it helps you. It's motivation. It just shows everybody how hard he wants to be back playing."

Ontario Harper (34 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers)

It's a big win, but winning at home hasn't been the problem this year.
"No, winning at home hasn't been a problem. We just have to find that same sense of urgency on the road that we find here."

Talk about Roberts' first half where he didn't score a point.
"The big guy wasn't getting the ball like he should have been, probably because of all the defenses they were throwing against him. That is when other guys have to pick up the slack. When they start scoring, then he can have more one-on-one matchups and do what he has been doing."

After the team meeting you guys had, did you notice the practice intensity pick up?
"Yeah, all 15 guys went hard. I think that carried over to the game."

What did it mean to the team to see Frazier in uniform for the first time since his injury?
"It meant a lot. He is my good friend. From the time he got here, I took him under my wing. It was good to see him come out and go through warmups."

What is he able to do in practice?
"He has just been doing shooting drills with us, then go down on the other end and work out with our trainer. He hasn't been doing too much, he is just taking his time. Like I told him, take your time, when you are ready, you'll know you are ready."

Shane Power (37 minutes, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers)

You were sick before the game. What was wrong with you?
"I think it was a virus. We had a couple a guys up all night last night. (Michael) Boler was really sick. Wes (Morgan) has been out most of the week. (Marcus) Campbell has been out. I was up all night and could barely breath or swallow. I'm still having a hard time breathing and still have a sore throat. I just want to thank our trainer, Scottie Johnson, and our doctor, Doctor Mabry, for taking care of me and helping me get ready to play. I think the crowd gave us energy and got our adrenalin going, so it didn't seem to faze us too much."

How does Lawrence not score a point in the first half, then score 15 in the second?
"He attracts so much attention. Those aren't easy shots because they are always over two guys. He is always getting bumped a little bit whether it is a foul or not. He just stays with it and stays with it. You just can't keep him down an entire game. It is impossible. I haven't seen it done yet."

Playing you was a gametime decision. If it was left up to you, were you going to play?
"I was going to play. There was nothing that was going to keep me out of the Hump. I absolutely love playing here. I relish it. I cherish it. There is nothing better to me than playing at Humphrey Coliseum. I called a couple of my Iowa State buddies and my best friend, who was a manager here last year, and they kind of gave me some pep talks."

Did you know that LSU had lost prior to playing this game?
"Yeah, we did. That was a little bit of a motivator, but we know we will have our chance against them on Wednesday, regardless."

You guys held Vanderbilt's starting five to 16 points.
"That is good and bad. I think their bench scoring was 38. But we did a good job of keeping Corey Smith, (David) Prxybyszewski and Mario Moore down. Last year, when we played them in the SEC Tournament, (Moore) was on fire."

You were upset after the Auburn game and mentioned that you felt some players weren't practicing as hard as they should. After the team meeting you guys had earlier this week, have you seen the team because more focused in practice?
"There is no question. We had the best week of practice that we have had all season. It was very intense, very physical. A couple of times this week we were so physical we almost forced coach to cut the drills short or someone was going to get hurt. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to recommit yourself. Right now, I do feel good about this team. It seems like everyone has really recommitted themselves and really focused in."

What did you guys do during the Monday team meeting that was called by the coaches and captains?
"We just kind of sat down and hashed some things out and got everything on the table. We just kind of went around and had everyone vocalize from their hearts what the rest of the season means to them and what they are going to do to make us a better team."

Do you feel like all 15 guys gave it their all in practice this week?
"Yeah I do, I definitely do. I hope this doesn't bite me in the butt, but I really feel good about our team right now."


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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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