"I think if you look back at most games this season, there is going to be some point in that game where we are going to have a spurt," said MSU coach Rick Stansbury. "When you have players who can do different things and you have a point guard like (Derrick Zimmerman) who can break the press and get that ball to the rim, then you can do that."
UAB scored the last two points of the first half to make the score 38-21.
During the second half, with MSU playing a more slower pace game on offense and great defense, UAB could never get closer than 15 points.
Mississippi State, for the 6th time in the last 7 games, held an opponent to under 40% shooting, holding the Blaziers to 36.7% from the field.
"I think that (UAB) probably got frustrated by our defense," said MSU point guard Derrick Zimmerman. "We try to make life hard for everybody that we face. Everything starts with defense."
MSU was led in scoring by Mario Austin with 13 points. Michal Ignerski followed him with 12 while Winsome Frazier added 10 for Mississippi State. Austin and Ignerski combined for 13 rebounds and Mississippi State had eight blocked shots as the Bulldogs dominated inside.
UAB coach Mike Anderson was impressed with how much this MSU team has improved since he had last seen them when he was an assistant under former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson.
"I have gone against this team when I was coaching at Arkansas, and they didn't have the depth that they have now," said Anderson.
Coming into the game, the two schools had played 5 times, with the Blazers winning the last 4.
MSU has now won 19 of their last 21 games dating back to last season.
Mississippi State next plays next Tuesday night against the Florida Gators in Starkville.
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE:
"This UAB team had been playing well. They were 8 and 2 and we knew we were going to get their best shot. I didn't think that we particularly played our best basketball, especially offensively. We turned the ball over early, but the things that have been constant with our team are the things that you have to have to go on the road and win. And that is our ability to defend and our ability to rebound. That is why at halftime we had a 17-point lead. I think we had turned it over 13 times at halftime, but we still had a 17-point lead. That is a credit to our young men."
The stats for Derrick Zimmerman weren't that impressive but talk about what he means to your team?
"I thought he was a little sluggish tonight. We had just came off that hard game at South Alabama where he had to handle the ball against their press for about 38 minutes. I don't think our whole team was as sharp as they have been."
Talking about his team's play in the second half after getting the big lead in the first half.
"We got the big lead at halftime. The second half we weren't at our best because we wanted to run that clock a little bit. We didn't want to speed the game up like we probably would have in a lot of cases. I don't think we had our legs tonight. We were basically in the second half just trying to get out of this place with a win."
Winsome Frazier's play.
"(Winsome) Frazier came in and gave us a lift. That is the role he has on this team. He is capable of coming in offensively and giving a little spurt, making a shot, getting in a passing lane and getting a steal. Those are the kind of things that you have to have from someone on your team."
Branden Vincent's play.
"I thought in the first half we were sluggish with Iggy (Michal Ignerski) and Branden Vincent came in and gave us some energy and some toughness."
Talking about MSU's 24-5 run in the first half that put them up 38-19.
"I think if you look back at most games this season, there is going to be some point in that game where we are going to have a spurt. When you have players who can do different things and you have a point guard like (Derrick Zimmerman) who can break the press and get that ball to the rim, then you can do that."
Talking about MSU's 10-1 start this season.
"By no means is this team comfortable or satisfied with where they are. They expected to be here (10-1). We are not overly excited about it. We have been in these situations before. When you have players like Derrick Zimmerman, Timmy Bowers and Mario (Austin), they understand these type situations and know that it is a long season."
Talking about the improvement of Michal Ignerski this season.
"I think that Iggy has really stepped up and become a (better) defender and rebounder compared to last year. Then you bring a Branden Vincent in to give us some more toughness and ability to rebound. I am very pleased with where we are at."
Talking about Derrick Zimmerman's importance to this team.
"The head of a snake is the point guard. If I was a point guard, I wouldn't want to bring that ball against (Zimmerman) for forty minutes."
Talking about MSU's defensive play:
"I think that (UAB) probably got frustrated by our defense. We try to make life hard for everybody that we face. Everything starts with defense. We feel like we are (ignored) because ESPN talks about how tough all these teams are defensively, but you never hear them say Mississippi State."
Memphis Grizzlies President Jerry West was in attendance:
"I'm the type player that really doesn't pay much attention to NBA scouts coming in. We just try to focus on what we have to do, but it is still a privilege to have a Hall of Famer like that come see you play."
Talking about how quietly MSU has burst upon the national scene this year:
"I want everything to keep quiet about Mississippi State and Derrick Zimmerman. We know that we have a good team and we want to just keep doing what we are doing."
Talking about the upcoming SEC schedule:
"We've had a great preseason schedule against some tough teams on the road. I think this team is ready for the challenge (of SEC play)."
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