"We are pleased to get the win against a very good Ole Miss team. There was just a little more to it than just playing Ole Miss. There is a lot more emotion involved in particular because we had beaten them twice coming in here. I was very pleased and very proud of how our players stepped up in particular the first half. I thought that defensively we were pretty special."
"(Derrick Zimmerman) had six assists and one turnover against that pressure. I wouldn't wish that on anyone."
"This is really his time of year. He stepped up and played at another level energy."
Comment on your defense on Justin Reed.
"He is the one person that we didn't do a good job on today. Give him credit. It was as much him as it was us. He jumped up and goes 4 for 7 from three-point range. He had made 9 three-pointers on the year, five of those were against us. When he makes shots, he is a very difficult player to guard. But when he is shooting (3-point) shots it keeps him out of the post. We'll take our chances guarding out in the perimeter versus in the post."
Your team shot the ball well today. Talk about that.
"We did a great job sharing the ball. Ole Miss does a great defensively. Anytime you have 13 assists against a team like Ole Miss, you are sharing the ball well. I thought that we got out and ran; we got some open looks.
"Even though (Michal Ignerski) didn't make some shots in the first half, I really though that he played with some confidence. He shot the ball with confidence even though it didn't go in. That is what we need this time of year; players playing with confidence."
Talk about withstanding their 15-2 run in the second half.
"They made some shots. Justin Reed probably had three of his four three-pointers during that stretch. Good teams are going to make runs. I thought that we got a little relaxed with a 19 to 20 point lead. In today's game, it doesn't take long for that to disappear. When the game got down to seven (points), I think that we responded. We got the ball inside and made free throws."
Do you think their 60 shots were too many compared to your 39 shots?
"That stat is a little off because we shot 33 free throws. That doesn't show in the field goal attempts. As long as you shoot 38% when you shoot 60 times, you like that percent. I like that we shot 39 shoots and made 59%. We'll take those percentages."
Compare this game to the first two times you faced Ole Miss.
"The first two games were very close games. This game was different. We came out and made some shots and allowed us to get a little distance on them. I thought that we did a great job of getting the all inside to the big man; a better job than we did the other two games."
Compare the way you are playing now to how you were playing at this time last season.
"There are a lot of similarities in the two teams. The difference is this team has more experience. Zimmerman, Bowers, Austin and Iggy have been through this before. Another difference is last year we were probably a little more excited to get the first win. With our players now, it is not as satisfying when you win your first game. They have come here for one reason; to try to win the SEC Championship. They know it takes three games in three days to do that and we have taken one big step in doing that."
How is the confidence of this team compared to last year's team?
"Last year, we came in here having won some games and were hoping to keep on winning. This team isn't playing, hoping to win; they believe they are supposed to win. It is a different attitude because of the experience that they have. They have won two championships (SEC Tournament and Western Division) and expected to come in here and win today."
What did your team do that caused you to play better against the zone the past two games compared to the previous two games where you had trouble against the zone?
"It's simple, we made shots. We had open shots against Arkansas and against Tennessee. Those were very good teams that we were playing on the road."
Even though your team is the SEC Tournament defending champion, the spotlight is on Kentucky because of the season they had. Is that a little more motivation for you?
"I don't know if that is motivation. No one is excited about playing Kentucky. The only way we will be excited about playing Kentucky is if we are playing them Sunday because that means we are in the championship game. The positive thing we can take into that game is that we went into Kentucky and even though we got beat, we gained some confidence. You don't always gain confidence when you lose a game but out kids did. We didn't play our best but with five minutes left in the game we were right there and had our chance. But we aren't looking past the next game. Florida and LSU are two great teams and we aren't looking past them."
"I thought that we did a good today of coming out and defending and rebounding."
Compare this game to the first two games with Ole Miss.
"We knew coming into the game that they would run a lot more zone than they did the previous two games. I came into the game wanting to not rush anything. Tonight, I just let the game come to me."
Why did you decide to go ahead and return and not go to the NBA? What do you want to improve on by staying in college?
"A chance to get my degree. I want to graduate and whatever happens, happens."
"Everything was against us coming in here. They really needed a win to give them a chance to play in postseason. As a team, we responded well. We accepted the challenge and came out and played with great effort and great intensity."
A couple of your assists late in the second half seemed to be easy assists; people were wide open. Did Ole Miss appear to be tired at that time?
"Coming into the game, Ole Miss had played yesterday. And they had a pretty hard game against South Carolina. Coach told us we needed to get out and run in transition. Late, when they made their run, I thought that they were tired. A couple of times I caught their guys standing out of position. I made a couple of good passes to Branden Vincent and Mario Austin. Somebody had to step up and make a play for us because we were kind of out of sync."
Today, you hit a three-point shot. How did that affect your mindset the rest of the game?
"(Smile) Their guy was daring me to shoot. He was standing off of me and saying, 'he isn't going to shoot, he isn't going to shoot'. If you looked at it on the court, I looked him in his eyes. After I made that shot, I said they are going to be in trouble tonight. In the last two games, teams have been daring me to shoot and I have been burning them."
You kept them from scoring inside and made them shoot from the outside.
"They are a team that tends to struggle if their outside shots aren't going in. They kept shooting threes and shooting threes. I think that we did a good job of keeping the ball out of their post players hands and shooting contested jump shots. With that, we had a chance to make some runs and get some deflections and some steals and get some easy baskets."
You have seemed to be more determine the past two games. Did the losses to Tennessee and Arkansas cause that determination?
"I kind of felt bad after those two games because I wasn't as aggressive as I needed to be to help us win. I feel like when I'm being aggressive on the offensive side helping my team score and being out there creating plays for everybody, then I think we are hard to beat. As you can tell by the last two games, I have been very aggressive in trying to make things happen."
You think teams will stop playing the zone against Mississippi State after seeing what you guys have done the past two games?
"Let them stay in the zone. We have some very good offenses against the zone. We have guys who can penetrate the zone defense."