A Q&A with Barry Stewart

A Q&A with Mississippi State men's basketball junior two-guard Barry Stewart.

How tired were you once the games were over?
"To be honest, throughout the four games I wasn't tired at all. And I think our bench had a lot to do with that. And you couldn't get tired at that point because a lot was on the line. I think the adrenalin took us through a lot of it. But after that last game and after celebrating I felt it on my body and I just had to go to sleep."

Was last night's sleep one of the best you have ever had?
"Yeah, because the night before the championship game I didn't sleep much. I usually go to sleep listening to music. I thought it was due to the room being too hot or something like that. I was actually envisioning Coach Stansbury and everybody celebrating."

Why Coach Stansbury and the rest of the players?
"I don't know. I could just see Coach Stansbury putting up both of his fists and celebrating. I had seen that before at the Hump when we had won other championships."

Was the celebration as good as you envisioned it?
"It was even better. When I got to throw that ball in the air it felt real good (laugh). And seeing all the guys piling on each other and celebrating was great."

Did beating Tennessee, your home state school, make it even better?
"Yeah, that made it special. That is the first time that I have beaten them since I've been at State. It was a great accomplishment."

Did you know without any doubt that you had to win the SEC Tournament to get an NCAA berth?
"We knew it, but we knew we had to take it one game at a time. The main goal was to get a ring, get a championship. That's something my class has done every year since we've been here, win a ring every year. Now, we are going to the dance."

There was concern by the coaches, after the Auburn loss, that the team might fold. But you didn't. You actually went the other way. Why was that?
"You have to start with the bench. I think our guy Kodi Augustus gave us energy off the bench. And Riley Benock started making plays. He made some key free throws in the Ole Miss game. If we didn't have our bench coming in when I fouled out, then we lose the game."

Being named to the SEC All-Tournament team. How big was that to you?
"It meant a lot because you don't get much recognition around here. But that's ok as long as the team wins championships."

There were times during the season when you didn't shoot the ball well, but come tournament time you made shots. Are you a pressure player or were you just hot?
"I think it was a back-against-the-wall thing. This tournament was one that we had to win, and you step up for those moments. When it's the worst, you find out the most about a person. And I don't worry about whether the shot goes in or not, I will put it up again and believe it will go in."

If everybody comes back, do you agree that this team could be a very, very good team.
"We would be really good, but that's something we have to wait and see on."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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