MSU Head Coach Rick Stansbury.
"Obviously, we are happy to get the victory even though we didn't perform as well as we are capable of performing. Give Georgia State a lot of credit. They came in here and played the way they had to play to give themselves a chance to win the game. They tried to press just to slow us down and they played zone. That is probably the way you need to play us. I didn't think the first half we were very good defensively. That was very apparent by giving up 37 points. I thought the second half things picked up a lot. We limited them to 17 points in the second half."
Q & A
What was the difference in the second half?
"We quit changing defenses so much. We just starting playing them five and made one adjustment. We played mostly man in the second half and I thought we were much better."
What did you think about the big crowd here in Jackson?
"It was very exciting to have a (large) crowd here in Jackson. It was a great crowd. I know our kids appreciated it. I wished we had played better. Georgia State is a good basketball team. They are very talented. Anytime you shoot 3 for 4 from the three-point line like (Cedric) Patton did, you are going to give yourself a chance to win. But our kids stepped it up in the second half and defended much better. That is why the score was like it was."
Were you concern about this game after playing such an emotional game in New York?
"I don't know if concern is the right word because we have very mature players in Derrick Zimmerman and Timmy Bowers. Is it part of athletics? Yes. But we try to prepare for that."
Do you feel Mario Austin played better than he did Saturday?
"It was a different type game. They zoned and packed it in on Mario. They were very smart to do that. They went man a few times in the second half and Mario scored three straight trips."
How important is it to your team to have won a big game on national tv against a nationally ranked team and to be talked about by ESPN and other national media?
"It is nice that people talk about your program. It is nice that all of you can go home and look at that score and see it run over and over because you are in the top 25. If you aren't in the top 25 it is not as easy to find your score.
"You have to play the same no matter what you are ranked. Last year at this time we weren't ranked. Even late in the season we weren't ranked. But that didn't affect the way we played. The thing that is different when you are ranked, it gives your opponent some ammunition. That bull's eye on your chest gets bigger because everybody wants to upset a top 25 team. From that standpoint, it is a negative because you have to bring a different energy level every night."
But don't you want that bull's eye on your chest?
"We love it. We work for it."
Talk a little about Seth Cannon. (Seth is a walkon who made a three-pointer from half court at the end of last night's game.-Gene)
"I'm going to tell you a little story about Seth. He came to my office a couple of times during the fall. We already pretty much had our walkons full. I don't even think I talked to him. I told my coach to tell him that we are full. But Seth was determined that he was going to get to me. He did something one night. I walked in my office one night about 10:30. It was misting rain, drizzling. I looked around the steps and there was somebody asleep. I walked over there and shake him. He looked up at me and said, 'hey, coach'. Seth was determined that he was going to talk to me about the opportunity to walkon. When he did that, he showed me something. That was a sacrifice. That is someone who wants to be a part of your program. From that moment on, he was a part of our program. He is a great kid, too. He is an engineering major who is from here in Jackson."
Will you be coming back to Jackson next year?
"It was a great experience for us but we can't always say that we will come back every year. There are other places that we sometimes need to go. With the experience we had here with this crowd, it is something that we will need to sit down and discuss with Mr. Templeton."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.