"Give Northwestern a lot of credit. The second half, the flat out out-toughed us and out-worked us and wanted the game more than we did. They did a great job in that press. We came out in the second half and basically did the opposite of what we talked about (in the locker room). We said the key would be the first five minutes of the second half. I think the first five minutes of the half we had seven turnovers and they scored either 12 or 14 points in those five minutes of the half. It went from about (a) 19 point (lead) to a 10 (point lead). That gave them confident. We found every way to throw it (the ball) away. We found out about some guys who didn't want to handle it against the press and who turned it over against the press. There were way too many turnovers against the press. We were just fatigued. I wanted to play my bench more, but I didn't feel like our bench gave us too much in the first half. They turned the ball over too many times. We had a big lead at halftime, but loss total focus. But give Northwestern a lot of credit."
Did Reginald Delk get hurt?
"No, he did not get hurt. I just didn't know if he could handle the ball against that press. Could he handle it better than anybody else? Looking back, probably so."
With a young and inexperience team like you have, will there be some nights that are like this?
"You want to avoid things like this. You go on the road and get a huge win Wednesday night, come back and play a first half and get a big lead against a pretty good basketball team. I thought we then absolutely shut it down in the second half. We literally shut it down. That press made us speed up, turn the basketball over. Jamall Edmondson is the only guy that really handles that ball against the press with any confidence and toughness. We felt good when it was in his hands. With anybody else, we were hoping and praying that they didn't turn it over before they passed it."
Was there anybody that could handle their press?
"We only had one handler, Jamall (Edmondson). Fatigue really set in on us. Jamont turned the ball over trying to get it in. So, we had to get him to quit throwing it in."
Do you think that fatigue played a factor in your free throw shooting?
"We were horrible, horrible. In the second half we were 10 for 23. You can point to a lot of things - turnovers, missed free throws and offensive execution. We had plenty of times to go to the free throw line, 23 times. And probably 7 or 8 of those were one in ones. We had been shooting free throws pretty good. But, for whatever reason, fatigue, loss of concentration, loss of confidence. We didn't shoot the ball well in the second half. Jamont and Slater had the ball in their hands a lot against the press. I thought that Jamont got totally fatigued and didn't want that ball enough to go get it. And we didn't have a lot to sub for him."
Charles Rhodes didn't really get many minutes of playing time.
"He had three fouls in two minutes in the first half. In the second half, he played 10 minutes and fouled out. He played 12 minutes and had no rebounds. I never thought he was a factor in the game."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.