"Give Lafayette a lot of credit. They came in and made shots and kept making shots. That is about as good of a single-game shooting (exhibition) as I have seen from the (Brad) Boyd kid. We had no answer for Boyd and (Anthony) Johnson. So, give them a lot of credit. They out-toughed us. They beat us to loose balls and on the backboards. They deserve credit for the win. I didn't think we were very good from the get-go for whatever reason. I thought when (Marcus) Campbell picked up his second foul we had no rhythm from that point on, absolutely none. We had another guy (Lincoln Smith?) we were not playing much tonight. We made a decision to play Branden (Vincent) at the five a lot tonight. We had not worked him there a lot. We didn't execute very well. But it comes down to defending and rebounding. As bad as we were offensively, we (also) didn't get enough stops. We created very little offense from our defense. That was the key to the game."
Ignerski's eye injury:
"Iggy was in our lineup tonight. He got busted up the first half and got 7, 8 or 9 stitches (below his eye) and comes back the second half and gets another cut above his eye, 4 more stitches."
Q&A with Rick Stansbury:
Did you mean that was the best you had seen Boyd shoot or the best you have seen from anyone?
"I thought we had two pretty good defenders on him all night long. Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman are two pretty good defenders and he goes 9 for 18 from the three point line. And I don't know if he ever got (any) wide open looks. If he was wide open, he shot them from 30 or 35 feet. From 30 feet in, I thought we guarded and contested him pretty well. From 35 feet out, we didn't guard him that well. He pulled up and kept shooting and kept shooting. That is what happens when you get in a zone. He made shots, big shots when he had to and we didn't make shots. They fed off of that."
(Louisiana-Lafayette) is a team that won 20 games last year and have 4 starters back. It is a pretty good basketball team.
"I'm not taking anything away from them. When you shoot 9 for 18 and 4 for 10 from the three point line, 10 of 12 from the free throw line and have 26 and 33 points, you are good players. Give Lafayette all the credit."
Can you comment on the difference Mario (Austin) could have made in a game like this?
"Guys, I'm going to make no excuses about Mario. All you guys know the answer to that question without asking it. I don't mean to be short on that. We played the game without Mario and prepared without Mario. And we will continue to prepare without Mario."
Normally you spend all of your time working with your team, practicing with your team. But this week you had to spend a lot of your time dealing with the NCAA and the Austin situation. Was that a distraction to you personally?
"I'm not going to put any excuses on (the) Mario Austin (situation). You can write that down. I'm not going to let that be a reason or excuse for us not preforming (well enough) to win a basketball game."
What happens when you are missing a guy like that? Do you need some of the other guys, the guards or a big man to step up and take Mario's place?
"We have no one else who can came in and be Mario, I can promise you that. We don't ask that guy to come in and be Mario. We just need some guys to come in and do those little things, defend, rebound and execute. That is the biggest thing. We started Campbell and he picked up two early fouls. That changed his whole tempo from that point on. He sat the rest of the first half and never got back in gear. We were forced to play Branden (Vincent) at the five and we just weren't able to execute well enough with Branden at the five. It wasn't his fault. We just haven't spent enough time with him at that position. We were forced to play him there tonight because I had made the decision that he was going to (play) before Lincoln Smith."
What were some of the positives from this loss?
"The only positive thing is you try to learn from what you didn't do. That is about the only positive that you can take from it. We've played well and lost before and you can take some positives, but I don't find a lot of positives from the way we played tonight. We got out-toughed tonight. I thought they beat us to loose balls and on the backboards. That hasn't been a trademark of our basketball team. That hasn't been a trademark our first two exhibition games."
Do you have any indication when you might get Mario Austin back?
"It is kind of an ongoing situation. We'll know more next week and that is just as honest as I can answer it. I wish I knew more. Next week, we'll know another procedure, not if we are going to get him back but maybe when the procedure is."
Have you seen a guy shoot threes like Brad Boyd did tonight?
"I've never seen anything like that before in my life. He hit some tough shots tonight. We tried to contest all of them, but they went in for him tonight. They all shot the ball well tonight."
Has the Mario Austin situation bothered you guys at all this week?
"I don't really think it has. We practiced all right this past week. We just came in tonight and I didn't think the intensity level was there at the beginning of the game. We could have been more intense on the defensive end and rebounding the basketball. Those are two areas that are going to get us wins."
Is it good to have a game on Monday to get this taste out of you mouth?
"Yeah, I think it is good that we can come in tomorrow and practice hard. Monday, we are going to be ready."
How do you handle a loss the first game of the season, especially with all the hype coming into the season?
"It is something as a player you have to be mature and brush it off. You can't win them all. We have to look at tonight (loss) as a learning experience. We are playing without Mario right now, so we need other guys to step up in the post and on the perimeter."
Has the Austin situation taken any kind of toll on you guys?
"The Austin situation didn't have any toll on what happened tonight. We didn't step up to the challenge tonight."
How is Austin holding up?
"He is doing fine. He is getting ready to play."
Are you guys helping him deal with it?
"We are helping him out. We talk to him everyday, keeping his spirits us."
With a game like this do you just have to realize one or two guys had hot hands and there was very little you could do about it? Do you just forget about it and prepare for the next game?
"When you have a guy shooting the ball from 40 feet out, there is not too much you can do. By the time he was crossing halfcourt, he was pulling up. We were there. The guy just hit tough shots. He just had a great night."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at email@example.com