"As everybody could see, it wasn't one of our better efforts. I guess you are always happy to win, but I wasn't happy with the way we won tonight. I just thought from the tip-off tonight, mentally we weren't as sharp, energy-wise, as our team was the previous few games for whatever reasons. I will never use three games in five days as an excuse. The young men have to learn how to be ready to play every night no matter who the opponent is. Players have to be ready every night. That is mental toughness. Even though you are a little bit fatigued, you have to find a way to push through it and we didn't.
"Give Jackson State credit. They came in here and hung around and hung around and never let us get any kind of rhythm at all."
Q&A with Rick Stansbury:
Talk about the turnovers. (MSU had 26 turnovers to 14 assists.-Gene)
"We had 26 turnovers. It obviously showed that we weren't very sharp mentally. I wish I had the answer to that. I thought it was a little bit of everybody. It wasn't one guy or two guys; I thought it was everybody played that way a little bit."
Branden Vincent was one player that had a good night. (Branden was 4-7 from the field, 3-4 free throws, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block and 1 turnover in 23 minutes.-Gene)
"Branden Vincent came in in the first half and gave us some energy. He got on the backboards. I think he had 7 rebounds at halftime in 10 to 12 minutes. He ended up with nine rebounds, 5 offensive rebounds. That is energy."
With the three games in five weeks and another one Saturday, how do you handle practice?
"We have to give them off tomorrow. And we need a day off. Naturally, they need a day off."
What happened in Indianapolis, Indiana today? (MSU and Mario Austin presented their case to the NCAA in Indianapolis Wednesday.-Gene)
"We went to Indianapolis today and they did meet and nothing has been resolved yet. We think there was some positive movement. Hopefully, we will know early next week."
Talk about Louisiana Tech.
"I really feel if Louisiana Tech was in our league they would probably finish in the upper half of it. I think they are that good. They were 2 and 0 in our league last year. They went into Auburn and won and blew Vanderbilt out late in the year. They basically have a senior team. They were 12 and 4 in the Big West Conference last year. Those who know the Big West Conference knows that is a very good league. We will have a very difficult challenge Saturday afternoon. But at the same time, it is a great opportunity. And that is the way we are going to approach it."
Talk about Marcus Campbell's play tonight.
"To his credit, I do think that his effort is getting better. I think he still has to have more playing time to get relaxed and understand where he's at. He turned around and shot a couple of jump hooks from 10 feet tonight because he didn't understand where he was at. But he has made some progress."
Were you guys weary tonight or just not focused?
"I think some of the players were a little wore down because three games in four days is kind of hard to do sometimes."
It didn't seem to bother you, though.
"I try to be as energetic as I can on the court. It was really no difference to me."
Were you guys trying to force things tonight?
"I think we were playing kind of lackadaisical because a lot of the (guys) didn't really respect the team. We just wanted to go out there and try and get a win and get it over with, go home and relax."
It is kind of difficult to get up for a team that had just lot to Arkansas by 42 points?
"That is one of the things. When you hear stuff like that, no matter what it is in your head. I guess some of the players probably went out on the court with it still in their heads."
Coach (Stansbury) didn't seem to satisfied about it either.
"Oh no, coach was real mad. Sometimes you have to understand that some games are going to be bad and some are going to be good. It is a ugly win but we got it."
You seem to have the potential to score a lot of points. You show good moves around the basket. Talk a little about your offensive game. Are you kind of holding it back due to the role you play with the team?
"Kind of. I don't want to be too aggressive scoring buckets when I really know that they need a rebounder on the team and a better defender. I save some of that offensive energy that I'm used to using and play more defense and rebound better."
You are a totally different player than Michal Ignerski, the guy you replace when you come in.
"Mike is a scorer. That is what he does. When I come in they expect someone who is going to attack. They don't expect a person who is going to get into you defensively."
You won the game, but the effort wasn't what it had been the previous games.
"Yeah, we got one, but it wasn't nice looking. It was a win."
How are you coming along as a player?
"It is a steady process, but I didn't do too good tonight."
You had a couple of steals tonight.
"Yeah, I'm just trying to do the little stuff that Coach tells us to do. Trying to keep the offense from reversing the ball. Luckily, I got two steals."
Talk about your shooting tonight.
"Early on, my legs were tired. I couldn't really get into the groove of my shot. Later on, I think I found my groove and made a couple of shots."
Talk about the ally-oop dunk.
"It was a play called for me. I just went up there and got it. I wanted it real bad because during the previous play the guy fouled me pretty hard on a breakaway. I told the guy guarding me that I was going to get him back, but he didn't know how I was going to get him back."
Branden Vincent also caught a ally-oop pass tonight.
"Right. We know he is very athletic out there. He can take it off a dribble and dunk it on you. He can catch a oop and dunk it on you."
It seems like it has taken you guys a while to get the the ally-oop pass down this season.
"I think a little of it had to do with not really working on the lob passes."
Were you guys weary tonight? Was that the reason for the way you played?
"We were tired, but you can't use that as an excuse. Jackson State came in here wanting this game real bad. They wanted to take it from us in our own house. They saw that Louisiana-Lafayette came in here and took a game from us and they wanted to do the same thing."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org