"Well, number one; give Arkansas State a lot of credit. They came in here and played us tough and out-worked us and out-toughed us. We were very fortunate to win the basketball game, so give them a lot of credit. Number two, we wanted to see how our team would respond after a Saturday game with trying to come back and play on a Monday. It was very obvious that I wasn't too pleased with the way we responded, except we found a way to get a ‘W'. Right now, with this bunch, any time you can get a ‘W' while we're in this situation, we'll take it. The first statistic I look at shows Arkansas State out-rebounded us, and that's always just a work ethic stat. During the last four minutes of the game, if I had some Maalox, I would have taken the whole bottle. I know we had a lot of guys that were totally fatigued. Jamont Gordon was fatigued to exhaustion. At the same time, you have to be tough enough to handle the ball and get it where you want it. Thank goodness for Jamall (Edmondson). He handled the ball under pressure. There's a man who hasn't really practiced in two weeks. For him to play against that man-to-man all night and still, in the end, make shots was big for us and a big to key to the game. There's no question Piotr (Stelmach) knocked down a big three at the end to help us win that game."
Was that why Jamont was on the bench the last four minutes?
"He was on the bench because of total exhaustion. He just couldn't go. Turning the ball over helped him get there, but we have to get some other people on the bench ready to play so he won't have to play the amount of minutes he did. He had 33 minutes, Edmondson played 36 minutes and Slater played 33 minutes. They are a young team. They don't understand that you can't get on a roller coaster and play on emotion like they did Saturday and come back out on Monday and play with the same energy and emotion. We have to stay consistent. Those are things you'll have with a young team, but you hope you can survive some games while you learn."
Free throw shooting was big for your team tonight.
"It was huge for us. It helped us win the basketball game. We shot 74 percent tonight and 75 percent Saturday night. We were 23 for 31. Charles (Rhodes) and Jamall (Edmondson) were both 7-for-8. And a lot of those were down the stretch. That was huge for us."
Talk about how effective your team was with your zone defense.
"We were not as good at the zone tonight as we were on Saturday. I thought that Arkansas State made shots against it. We didn't have the same energy out there and the same quickness that we had Saturday. You have to be tough to be able to do it every night. Arkansas State has a very good basketball team. I told Dickey (Nutt) before the game, I thought he had a better team than he did last year. After playing them, there's no question that he does."
What was the reason for your team's fatigue in the second half?
"We're playing a lot of zone, and then we'd change back into man. We played a lot of man during the second half. That totally took our legs from under us. We were tired. We were just trying to hang on."
Jamont had 16 points in the first half and only took one shot in the second half. What was the reason for that?
"It wasn't by design, trust me. We just weren't very good getting into motion. Jamall was getting a little pressure on him and we didn't do a very good job getting the ball reversed. We had one pass and somebody tried to make a play too many times."
Are you anxious to see how your team does on the road against Charlotte?
"(Laugh) I don't know if anxious is the word or not. We're very anxious. Make sure you put a very in front of the anxious. We have six games in 12 days. I'll sleep well thinking about that."
How many different lineups did you play tonight?
"I'm just throwing them in and out of there. But down the stretch, we needed to trust some more people and rest some people. Reginald (Delk) needs more minutes. (Dietric) Slater played 33 minutes. That's too much. Jamont Gordon played 33 minutes. That's too much for him. And we are forcing Jamall Edmondson to play minutes because we don't have Richard (Delk). I'm just amazed that he can play 36 minutes and finish plays down the stretch."
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 email@example.com.