"Number one, it is always good when you win a basketball game, but the most important thing is that we needed a win. For us to come out in the sixth game in 12 days, the third game in in the fifth day. And doing that after coming off two tough losses without the depth that we don't have right now. To come out and perform the way we performed, I couldn't be more proud of them. It is very obvious they (the team) found a way. They have learned a bit from those previous two games. When you make shots the world goes around. And don't ask me why we made shots. When Jamall Edmondson and Richard Delk make shots like that, that is what we think they are capable of doing a lot, but they just haven't done it. That is why when Jamall jumped up and made shots as physically tired as he is, I am amazed. But those two guys making shots was huge. We held on defensively. When you make shots it gives you more energy in the zone. They were going to score some points, but we didn't give them many putbacks. Considering everything going on with this team; youth, injuries, this was a huge win for us. I am just proud of our guys. (Coach Monte Towe) does a great job with his team and they are going to have a very good year in their league (Sun Belt Conference). I'm awfully proud of our guys tonight in the way they came back out and fought tonight."
Did you challenge your team yesterday?
"I don't know if challenge is the word. If I felt like they weren't trying, then maybe I would, but it's not that we have not been trying. It's just that there is a lot of youth out there and some injuries that have played a factor. Those things are a part of the game, so it wasn't about challenging them. We did bond together doing one little thing and whether that mattered or not, I felt like it gave us some energy coming out of that locker room. Whatever that was worth, it helped us."
What was that thing that caused the bond?
"We all stamped our hand with the word toughness. I was very concerned about the start of the game because I knew New Orleans was really explosive. We came out of that gate running and that was huge for us. About as quick as we got the lead, we lost it, but at least we got it. I'm proud of the kids, they hung in there and fought to get a win."
Did Jamall Edmondson take better shots?
"I think that everybody took better shots. It starts with Jamont Gordon, number 1. It is huge for him. Everything that is going on on this team is not their fault. I will take responsibility for things that they aren't doing. The problem with this team right now is all those thing that we have evaluated since the first game, we have not been able to correct them in practice. That is a key. It has been a game, a walk-through, a game, a walk-through. There is no way we can practice five on five live and we need that badly. We have addressed that a bunch with Jamont Gordon. And I thought tonight he settled down and played more within himself."
Your team seemed to break the press much easier tonight.
"As for as working on it and really doing it live, no, but we've talked about it. You have to work on it live, but we haven't been able to do it. It's about saving our legs right now. But we were better at it. I thought that Jamall Edmondon went back and got the ball. Last Saturday, he never went back to get the ball. That was why there were so many turnovers. But I thought he dug in and went back and got the ball."
Does it feel like you have a luxury with 3 days between games?
"There's no three days. Tomorrow is an off day. So you have Friday afternoon (to practice) and you play Saturday at one. That is seven games in 14 days. So, there is still no time to prepare. The key for us right now is to play as hard as we can, toughness. The one thing we can control every possession is the effort level."
Charles Rhodes appeared to give you some help, especially, at the start of each half?
"He gives you an offensive threat in the block. And he went and got one or two in the second half. But he's a guy that we need more from. But having him, no question helped us. We needed the minutes from him. Even Vernon (Goodridge) helped. After Wesley (Morgan) got in foul trouble, he gave us 16 qualify minutes that added to our team. He didn't take away tonight. In 16 minutes, he had 5 points and 2 rebounds. And I thought he did a good job in the zone."
What do you know about Santa Clara?
"Phil (Cunningham) has seen most of the film so far, but we know enough about them to know this - they are one of the quality teams in that league (West Coast Conference). Some people had them picked behind Gonzaga. They will be smart, they've got one great player in (Travis) Niesen, they will be big and able to shoot it and will be skilled. They will run about 50 sets if you run it."
What about your walking wounded for Saturday's game?
"(Dietric) Slater is a no-go right now. Piotr (Stelmach) has more of a chance, but it's wait and see. Richard (Delk) is a n-go, but hopefully he is getting closer."
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.