Stansbury Talks About His Team's Victory

Mississippi State head basketball coach Rick Stansbury talks about his team's 100-69 exhibition game victory over Oklahoma City.

Opening Comments

"Oklahoma City is a very well-coached basketball team. One of their better players didn't play tonight. But they have great size, and like I said, they are well-coached. I think they can win another (NAIA) national championship. They can be that good.

"Obviously, (we did) some things better than the other night (against the University of the Cumberlands). Jamont Gordon got in the lane and created some more plays for some perimeter people. And I thought we knocked down some shots. Ben (Hansbrough) and Barry (Stewart) knocked down some shots. And defensively we were better in some areas and there are some areas that we will get better at. Jarvis (Varnado) is going to have some blocks, but he can't let them continuously come inside and depend on swatting everyone of them. If he does, he'll sit beside (the coaches). He played 19 minutes and fouled out. He's got to get better at that. I saw some improvement off the bench from the other night. And we need those guys off the bench to play solid for us - don't make silly plays, don't turn it over, make effort plays. I think Brian Johnson was the most productive."

Is Jarvis a more all-around player this season?
"There is no question. Last season, you could blow in the post and knock him off balance. If you look at him he doesn't look a lot better and stronger. He's no muscle man, but he has a lot more strength and can take that ball to the hole. And he's much more active. He makes a lot of things happen, offensively and defensively, for us right now. He had great stats for us again tonight, but the problem is I don't need 19 minutes of play. I need 25 to 28 minutes of play. In a tight game I don't need him sitting beside me."

How was this game different from the last game?
"The game Saturday was an unusual game. We never got into the flow. There were a lot of fouls called. There wasn't a lot of opportunities to get into the lane. I subbed every time the first unit got into a flow. I subbed the five freshmen in. Tonight, we subbed differently, trying to get into a little bit of rhythm."

Did you like what you saw from Elgin Bailey tonight? You played him 14 minutes this game after playing him 4 in the previous game.
"I like him. We just have to figure out where he is in this mix. He does the little things that help you win. He plays with a lot of effort. He just does some things out there that will help you win ballgames. I like Elgin."

Your team shot the ball well tonight.
"I said all fall that one thing we have done well is shoot the basketball. We don't defend and rebound the way we need to, but we have shot the ball consistently all fall. And we shot them from the free-throw line all fall except for these last two games Tonight we didn't make the free throws, but, at least, we shot the threes. But I think we will shoot the free throws in time."

Where is this team as far as rebounding is concerned?
"Nowhere near where it has to be. It's not even close. The one thing that we have to get better at is rebounding the basketball. I told my guys that I don't see enough people getting upset when their guy gets a rebound. I see a lot more guys get upset when they miss a shot. Well, get upset and take it personal when your guy gets a rebound. We don't take it personal yet. That's an area that we have to get better in."

What are your thoughts about Riley Benock's play?
"I thought that Riley did what he is supposed to do - zero turnovers and knocked down open shots. Riley Benock - 12 minutes, no turnovers, 1 assist, nine points. Those are the kind of stats you want coming off that bench. Don't get beat defensively, play smart, don't turn it over, do what you do best. His is make points. Don't try to do things that is not your strength when you come off the bench."

What about Kodi Augustus' play?
"Kodi (Augustus) has to get tougher - defend, rebound and get tougher. He hasn't done it in a game yet. But he can shoot the ball; I don't worry about that. I need him to defend and rebound, but he will get more comfortable in those areas."

How many players do you believe you will play in your rotation?
"You want to play as many as that can help you. I'm trying to find enough that can help me. I have five freshman on the bench. I have to go into those freshmen and find a couple that can help us."

Talk about Ben Hansbrough's and Barry Stewart's defensive play.
"Stewart does ok. And Ben is getting better. But you have to channel Ben's aggression. Sometimes his aggression gets him in trouble because he is playing so hard. When he's playing so hard he'll run through gaps. On defense, it's not just about moving all the time. You have to use your mind - you have to see the next play happen before it happens. That is what a good basketball player does, offensively and defensively."

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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