"I just told our guys that we have been in bigger games than this one, but I'm not sure if I'm more proud of any other group of guys than I am of these guys tonight. Not just because they won the game, but by the way that we had to win it by overcoming so many things. Number 1, Chattanooga is a very good basketball team. They were an NCAA basketball team last year and had a lot of guys back. (Number 2) We've been without Jamall Edmondson for two weeks and we lost Richard Delk Thursday. We didn't even know if we had a point guard (tonight), but Jamall stepped up. (Number 3) And we made the decision that we had to play a lot of zone because of (lack of) depth and (Jamall) not being able to move and guard. Due to all of that, I am very proud of them."
How long will Richard Delk be out?
"Bare minimum, two weeks for sure. But it could be more."
What is Richard's injury?
"They call it a hot spot. That's the next thing to a stress fracture on the top of his foot."
Will you be opening in a 2-3 zone this year?
"I told my coaches that is the first time in my eight-year history of being here that I opened up in a zone. Normally, I go in and give the matchups that last five minutes, and I was about to do it again, then I realized we were playing zone. It was the first time in eight years and it worked for us."
Were you surprised how out-of-sync your zone defense got them?
"I was very surprised. I thought we could play some zone, but I wasn't sure if we could play it for 40 minutes. But they weren't having much success against (our zone), so we stuck with it. I think we went man for five trips. I don't think they scored against our man."
What are your thoughts about the post play of Charles Rhodes?
"It was ok. I thought he did a great job throwing out of their double team. For 18 minutes, he had 12 points and 8 rebounds. That's pretty good productivity from Charles. And only 1 turnover and less bad shots. I like those stats. Charles is a guy that I will always want more from, always. He has a higher ceiling than a lot of other guys."
How important was it to get Michael Boler, Jerrell Houston and Jamall Edmondson back?
"Boler hadn't practiced for 4 weeks and I really didn't think he could play tonight. And we didn't even know if Jamall could go. So, we had to get some minutes out of Boler. And he gave us some productive minutes. He was nervous, just as Jerrell was nervous."
What was your impression of Dietric Slater's game tonight?
"It was much more positive than it has been. I thought he finished plays much better tonight. We never question his effort. We know what we question (his turnovers). And he limited those tonight because I just see three of them."
You have a quick turnaround with three games in seven games.
"We actually have six more games in 13 days. That is a concern for this young team. They have to get prepared over and over for different teams. It's very different trying to prepare this team. You could spend three days on the scouting report and still not get it down. What you do is ask them to do things they are able to do and not do things they can't. Until then, we have to hide what they are not capable of. And we did that tonight."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.