Bradley Head Coach Jim Les

Bradley head coach Jim Les talks about his team's 101-72 loss to Mississippi State in second round action of the NIT.

Thinking back on it, are there things you could have done to slow them down?
"Maybe if I had about 10 or 12 timeouts (laugh). I have to give a lot of credit to Mississippi State. That's a very good basketball team. And they are a very good basketball team that I thought played very well, and particularly shot the ball well. Every time we made a run they had an answer. And after we made the last run, when it got to 16 and we cut it to 7, I think we expended so much energy and they were a little fresher being able to go so deep into their bench. I think that kind of wore us down. I thought we fought and played hard, but that might be the best team we've played all year in terms of all-around athleticism, size, depth and skill."

Did they do anything special on defense against your three-point shooters?
"Because of their size and length, they were able to get to shots as well as make us change some of their shots. That pressure helped us shoot a not so healthy percentage. So much for that southern hospitality I guess, hugh? It was good last night and this morning, but it kind of changed when the tip went on."

MSU's play in the last 10 to 12 minutes of the game may have been their best basketball this season.
"I would hate to see it if they could play better. Like I said, I thought they wore us down. We were fighting, scratching and clawing and battling and hanging around, but we could never cut the deficit or get it to a tie game. Every time we made a run, they had an answer. And I think their last answer, when we cut it from 16 to 7, was three threes back to back to back that was the dagger."

They did that in the first half as well, and all the threes were by three different guys. It must be difficult to defend a team like that?
"It is. They are a team that coming in, their strength wasn't necessarily their three-point shooting, but their ability to get to the basket and their athleticism. Then you throw in the fact that they are shooting the ball well, and they really spread us out. We tried to take away the penetration, then they are kicking (the ball out to their guards) and hitting the threes. Now you have to go out and try to defend that. That was a little overwhelming for us."

Talk about your team's season.
"I'll tell you what I told the seniors. I thanked them from our community, our university and our staff. Those seniors were a part of two unbelievable years and they played huge roles in setting a level of excellence for Bradley basketball. Now it's our goal to continue to make them proud of Bradley basketball. That's the challenge for the guys coming back."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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