MSU Players Talked About Their Loss to Alabama

Mississippi State players talked about their 68-63 loss to Alabama before 10,432 fans in Humphrey Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Lawrence Roberts (36 minutes, 15 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 2 turnovers)

Describe the game.
"It was a hard fought battle, our type of game. It was hard fought on the defensive end."

Were you frustrated that you only got off two shots in the first half?
"Not really. As long as we are in the game, I could care less. We knew we would knock down some shots in the second half. We just had to stay patient and continue to do what we were doing on the defensive end."

How much did it hurt not having Marcus Campbell in the game due to his injury?
"It hurt a lot. He is a big guy who can draw a lot of attention in the low post and take a lot of pressure off some other guys."

Was it one of those shooting nights where nothing would go in?
"Yeah, I think we got into a groove where we took too many outside shots. They came out and played in the zone the entire first half and the majority of the second half and that really slowed us down and kept us from getting the good shots that we wanted."

Despite the fact that you guys shot the ball poorly, the game was still close. Does that encourage you?
"That shows that we can control the game on the defensive end if we play hard and fight for 40 minutes."

I noticed prior to coming in, you signed some autographs for some kids. You obviously mean a lot to them. How much does Mississippi State mean to you?
"It means a lot. The fans are great. It was a great two years. I will never forget the times that I had or the kids who are always at the games and support us 100%."

How hard is it for the seniors to go out this way?
"It is hard. With me being here two years, it was hard for me to go out there because the fans are so supportive. That's what makes it so hard to leave. The fans are so unbelievable."

Talk about going into the SEC Tournament with Georgia your first game.
"We kind of break down the season into mini seasons. The SEC Tournament is a new season. We have to be at the top of our game going into that tournament. We have to go in with the mindset that we are going play our kind of basketball."

Ontario Harper (31 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist, 1 turnover)

What were your emotions like coming into the game?
"My emotions were real high. Like I told my mom, it really hadn't hit me until I actually stepped out there."

Did you have good looks shooting the ball, but the ball just wouldn't go in?
"We had good looks. Guys who normally knock shots down, it just wasn't going down for them today. You just hoped that it wouldn't happen on this particular day."

Alabama, one on one, just made plays. Some were even crazy shots, but they made them.
"Yeah, they had guys who turned sideways and made shots off the glass. There's really nothing you can do about that. They made plays at critical times and we didn't make enough shots."

You've seen the best and the worst in the SEC Tournament. How do you think this team will do in this tournament?
"We just have to be confident and stay together. I think we have been doing that lately. Today, everybody played hard on both ends of the court. Hopefully, we can take that into the tournament."

Winsome Frazier (31 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 turnovers)

What was going through you mind during the pregame?
"Not much, just get a win, especially since it is your last home game in front of 1,000's of fans and your family."

Did it surprise you when they came out in a zone defense? And was that the reason you guys shot so poorly from the three-point line?
"No, we knew they were going to play zone. It was just that our shots weren't falling."

How do you rebound from this loss and get ready to play Georgia Thursday?
"Just try to block it out the best way we can. We play Thursday and we have to be ready for them."

What do you guys need to do to make a run in the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament?
"Probably make less turnovers and play good defense. If you play hard and play good defense, you can win any game."

Shane Power (36 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers)

I guess it's tough to finish your career at the Hump this way.
"That's an understatement. I'm one of those guys who looks myself in the mirror after every game. Right now, I can't live with going 5 for 19. Number one, I didn't want to take 19 shots. To be quite honest, I didn't knock down enough shots. And Frazier didn't knock down enough shots. That was the difference in the ballgame. The rest of our team played great. Harper was unbelievable. Lawrence played great like he always does. We played great defense and we rebounded. But I'm going to look you in the eye and tell you that I didn't get it done today. It's something that I'm going to live with, but I'll bounce back from it."

You had been shooting well lately. Did this come out of nowhere?
"I didn't shoot it well for the Arkansas game either. It's not due to lack of work. I've been in this gym four hours a day since the Arkansas game. But, you have to be real with yourself. You have to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you didn't get it done."

Do you think it may have just been one of those games where the shots just weren't going in?
"That's what a lot of people are saying. I don't know. When you work that hard...it's just uncharacteristic. I don't think Frazier and myself have shot that badly in any drill, any scrimmage or any game in our lives. It is just disappointing. I would have given my left arm not to lose here in the Hump."

Do you think how long and how athletic the Alabama players are had anything to do with your team's bad shooting night?
"It might have. I can't really pinpoint it, but it might have had something to do with it."

Did not having Campbell in the game hurt your team today?
"Yeah, Campbell had come off a good game against Arkansas. We were really hoping to have his energy. But he pulled a muscle in practice, so it was rough not having one of our seniors out on the floor."

You have the SEC Tournament coming up this week. Some view that as a new season in itself.
"Yeah." (Shane became very emotional at this point and had to take a few moments to regain his composure.-Gene)

You've been here three years. Do you feel the emotions that came with playing in your last game at the Hump got to you a little bit?
"This place has been so special to me. This is not how I wanted to go out here at the Hump. I would have done anything not to let the fans down. But, things don't always go the way you want them to. Hopefully, this will build character for this team and myself. Good people bounce back. Hopefully, we will go in Thursday and get a big win."

Despite the loss, you have to be encouraged with the defensive effort of your team?
"Yeah, that was the best defensive and rebound effort that we have had this year. To hold a team with that much firepower to 68 points is a feat in itself. We will use the momentum from that going into Thursday."

What do you think about the Alabama team?
"They have four pro players in their starting five. Coach Gottfried has held them together all year and they have put egos aside. I told Coach Gottfried after the game to make them believe that they have as good of a shot to make the Final Four as anybody in the country. I truly mean that."


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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