MSU Coach and Players Talk About Their Win

Coach Stansbury and his players talked about their victory over Stanford that advanced them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

MSU Head Coach Rick Stansbury

Opening Comments
"Stanford went through a lot this season, too. For them to be in this tournament after losing one of their best players is a credit to the job (Stanford head coach) Trent (Johnson) did this season. With that said, I'm very proud of our team. I'm not just proud because we won the basketball game but the way we won it. I thought that our kids played with great emotion and great energy.

"I felt like, early in the game, everything that Stanford did was right. They made shot after shot. And we couldn't get any stops, but once we started getting shots and start playing in transition, we started getting some easy baskets.

"I thought in the second half our zone was very, very effective. It started with the guy inside. I thought that Marcus Campbell played huge today. Lawrence Roberts, when he plays like that, our team is very special. And it helped him today because Campbell was in there with him. I think we also saw a glimpse of the old (Winsome) Frazier.

"The rest (between the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament) helped our team be the healthiest that it has been in a long time. I think it showed out there today."

Was it not only important to win today, but to recapture your swagger as a team?
"Everybody wants to win, but we didn't come in here feeling the pressure of having to win. We came in here wanting to play as well as we could play and as hard as we could play. When you do that, then you can live with the outcome of the basketball game.

How healthy was your team today?
"We were as healthy as we had been in a long time. Campbell (who was injured for the SEC Tournament) probably gave us more minutes than I anticipated. The emotions and energy carried him through this game. That was a big factor for us."

After the Florida loss in the SEC Tournament, you questioned your team's passion and heart...
"No, I didn't question it. We just didn't play with the emotion that you need to play with. That's part of basketball. It happens (sometimes). I never questioned our heart. We just didn't play with the energy and passion that you have to play with to be a good basketball team. I think what this team has done over the past several years shows that it has a lot of passion and heart. If they didn't, they wouldn't be where they are right now."

Were you expecting Marcus Campbell to play as well as he did while he was in the game?
"We've seen Marcus play like that before. Against Florida (in the regular season), he was even more dominant than he was tonight. When he plays like that, our team is very good. When a team zones us, his size is a factor. And (Stanford) zoned us for about 35 minutes. Having him on the inside opens it for Lawrence Roberts. When they collapses on the inside, it gives us open threes."

With the guards shooting so well, how much did that help Roberts and Campbell inside?
"When you play against the zone, there are only so many times you can get the ball inside. It was very obvious that Frazier and Power stretched the zone out. When you can hit shots on the outside, it opens it up on the inside. And we had it all going today. We had the inside, we had the outside. I don't remember but two careless turnovers. When you have nine turnovers on the road, that is a huge stat."

What do you think about your matchup with Duke?
"We are just happy to have that opportunity. There is no question that Duke is the premiere program in the country. They have one of the best teams in the country right now. We know we will have our hands full against them. But I think it is very obvious that our team will be ready. We need to teach the North Carolina fans our fight song between now and Sunday."

Marcus Campbell

What did you think about the play of your team today?
"I definitely think our defensive level was played at a very high level today. The guys really got after it. We took heed of the situation and knew that the loser goes home."

What kind of spark did you give the team tonight with your effort and play?
"I just felt really good. After injuring my leg (prior to the SEC Tournament), it felt really good to be able to get out there and run again. I tried to play as hard as I could for as long as I could."

When was the last time you felt that good on the court?
"It has probably been two or three weeks. My leg is about to the point where the pain is gone."

Where did that pass to Lawrence come from?
"I don't know. I just saw him coming in the back door. I didn't really pay attention to how I threw it. I just tried to get it to him."

With all that you have gone through as a team this year, did you think, when you got down early, that this might be your last game and that you really didn't want to go out this way?
"Definitely. But that's the way you have to play. Coach always tells us it's not how you play when things are going well, but how you play when things aren't going as well. So, when things aren't going the way you want them to, it takes a big man to step up and take care of business."

Talk about your upcoming matchup with Duke.
"I think, at this stage of the game, we look at it as the loser goes home. Every game is a big game. This game (against Stanford) was just like the Duke game is going to be. We have to play with the same intensity level. We look forward to the challenge of playing Duke."

Winsome Frazier

Talk about the game today.
"I am very proud of this team. We came here just ready to play. The intensity was there. Everything fell into place for us.

"Give Stanford credit. They came out in the first half and played well. We just won the battle. Coach (Stansbury) always emphasizing that we need to defend and rebound and we did that today."

How did your shot feel today?
"It felt real good. Lately, I had begun to second-guess my shots. But, as coach has always told me, do what you do best and that is shoot. I came out of my shooting slump at the right time. And my teammates found me for open shots. I give most of the credit to my team. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to knock the shots down."

With all that you have gone through as a team this year, did you think, when you got down early, that this might be your last game and that you really didn't want to go out this way?
"It's like Marcus said, you have to just go out there and play. Injuries are part of the game. We fought through a lot of injuries this year. People doubted us, but we are like a fist out there that you can't break. We have six seniors and we didn't want this to be our last game."

Talk about your upcoming matchup with Duke.
"We have to put this game behind and carry forward what we did, just do what we have been doing. Play aggressive, play defense and rebound. We don't need to worry about who we play next. We just need to come out and play every game like it is our last game."

Do you still remember last year's second round loss or are you past that?
"I think we are past that. Things happen. This is a new year for us. We know we have a tough second round team and know we are an underdog. We are just going to go out and fight."

With about four minutes left in the game and a dead ball had been called you went over to the Stanford bench and said something to a few of their guys. What did you say?
"I didn't say that much. What was going on was part of the game. You let emotions get into the game."

Lawrence Roberts

Was this the best game you guys have played since the Auburn game?
"From a team standpoint, we did a good job. We came out in the second half and picked it up on the defensive end. If we can put two halves together like that, that will be our best game. From an effort standpoint, the guys came off the bench with a lot of energy. That really helped us."

What got you going today?
"Space. We emphasized space throughout the week. We wanted to do a good job of moving all the time. And I think we did a good job of that. Guys also knocked down shots and that opened it up inside for us big men."

Was Stanford the type team that you could be physical with?
"We knew that they were physical. We just wanted to be aggressive with them from the beginning. We attacked them from the jump ball and wanted to do a really good job of controlling the game with our energy."

Talk about your upcoming matchup with Duke.
"It is Duke. We are going to have to go out there and fight. We have to go out there and give it our all knowing that it is going to be a good game. We know it will start on the defensive end. If we do that, we will be proud of the effort and good things will happen."

Normally, you have more turnovers than nine, the number you had in this game. What was the reason for the low number?
"I think we just kept our composure. They got a little (lead) on us, but we knew you have runs in a game. We just wanted to counter that by being patient and get our shots on offense. I think our point guards and everybody did a good job of being patient."

After having such high expectations going into this year and not really achieving those expectations during the regular season, do you think this team found itself tonight?
"Whatever happened before now is in the past. I think our mind set coming into this game knowing that we weren't a top seed was an attitude that we had our backs against the wall and we didn't want to go home. It's a new season."


Mary Ann Swindoll is the editor of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact her by email at maryannswindoll@genespage.com.

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