"First of all, give Mississippi State credit. They played well tonight and showed some toughness late in the game. I thought that we had a chance to take the lead late with a good defensive stop. I thought that we had it, but we didn't. We fouled them and put them on the line and they were able to hit their shots and you have to give them credit for that. I am very proud of our basketball team. We had a lot of questions unanswered before we came in and we got some of those answered tonight. One is that we can still hang our hats on defense even though we don't shoot the ball very well. However we were able to be in the game with a couple of minutes to go. For that I am proud of our team. This was a tough place to play and I thought their crowd was really good tonight. Rick (Stansbury) had them going even though he has a lot of inexperience. He certainty has a lot of good talent and they played well. I thought (Jamall) Edmondson was the difference for them. But I thought that (our guard) Dereke Tipler is an outstanding player as well."
Your lone Mississippian Issac Wells played well.
"I thought it was a really good night for him. I am always glad to see a young man come back and play in his home state. He was so nervous and was really pressing for everything that he did. I think in the first 10 minutes he had to overcome some frustrations. He had it all over his face. But once he got into that second gear he showed he could play on this level. And he played outstanding. I thought that his 19 points and 9 rebounds were outstanding stats. But defensively, he gives us a lot of things that don't show up on the stats. I think Issac did a really good job."
Your team was 7 of 30 from the three-point range.
"It's not what we want to do. We certainly don't ever want to look at the three point stats and see that we shot 30. I don't think you are going to win many games anytime you shoot 30 three-point shots like we did. It is not something we want to do but when a team plays zone, they did exactly what they wanted us to do. We couldn't make the shots but I told the shooters, guys like Jerry Nichols and Brandon Ballard, to keep shooting. At halftime we had to make an serious adjustment so that we could get the ball inside. I thought we had better paint play in the second half, but anytime you shoot that many three-pointers, I don't think you are going to beat very many people."
Do you feel your team's shots were open shots?
"I thought that only two or three of our shots were bad shots, but everything else was pretty open. There were about three near the end of the half that we rushed, trying to get that last second shot. We were able to get the rebound and throw up another prayer. I think the two things you have to do on the road to be successful, besides guard and defend, are to make your layups and make your free throws. You can't be a 50 percent free throw team in the first half and expect to be ahead. We have to get better at the free throw line."
Do you think that Tipler fouled Edmondson at the end?
"I don't think he did, but the referees were closer than I was. It looked like he tripped and the ball came lose. And we had a chance to recover it. I think it was a tie ballgame or we were down one at that time and that put them on the line. That was tough, but it's just the way it goes. You can't worry about that."
Your team appears to be a very scrappy team. Is that a trait of your team?
"I like to think that. I certainly give our players a lot of credit for the heart that they have. They play extremely hard. We could have folded in an environment like this. We were playing an SEC opponent with their crowd behind them. The echo that you have in here is phenomenal. And it gets very, very loud. But I was very proud of our team because they didn't fold and we felt like we still had a chance to win the game."
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.