VU-MSU: Postgame comments

After Vanderbilt's win over Mississippi State, head coach Kevin Stallings and guard Dan Cage spoke with the media.

Q: Why do you get so many open looks?

Dan Cage: … because I'm a nobody. It makes it easy on me when you have Shan, Derrick, and Mo taking the attention. Teams are so worried about them that it's just "uh-oh, who's that white kid over there?"

After the game, a relieved and proud Coach Kevin Stallings addressed the media and answered questions. Here is a transcript of what he said. Enjoy!

Kevin Stallings: I was very pleased to see our guys bounce back today with the effort and energy that they played with, especially in the first half. This was one of those games where anything could happen – especially after the devastation we felt on Wednesday night. A team with less character would not show up to play and I commend these guys for coming out ready and playing very hard throughout. We were fortunate in that we were able to get them to turn it over a little bit. Creating turnovers is not a strength of ours, but unfortunately it was a turnover-played game, I guess, because we generally don't make very many, but we had quite a few today ourselves.

KS: Overall, I was pleased. I thought our inside guys did a nice job against their zone. We did a pretty good job of taking the right shots. Dan Cage did a great job of coming in the first half and providing a nice lift.

Q: Was this the 40 minutes of good basketball you were looking for?

KS: No. I'm ecstatic with the fact that we bounced back and played really hard, but I'm not ecstatic with how we played overall. Some of our turnovers were just so careless – trying to be highlight films instead of trying to play basketball. That's not good for us.

KS: We wanted to push the tempo and we wanted to run it more, and I thought we did. Especially after the first few minutes of the game, we were able to get the pace up, and when the pace got up it favored us.

Q: Do you expect the up-tempo to continue, or was this a matchup thing against MSU?

KS: It was something that we felt like we needed to do in order to win this game.

Q: We had 16 assists on 17 baskets in the 1st half. Is there anything we could have done better, offensively, in the first half of play?

KS: Not offensively, other than possibly taking care of the ball. We had two turnovers to end the half – we didn't get a shot on our last two possessions of the first half. In a close game, those possessions could be monumental. Besides those last two turnovers, I thought that we played very well.

Q: As sloppy as it got in the 2nd half, did you like the fact that we continued to play hard?

KS: I liked the fact that we continued to play hard defensively. Again, our guys bounced back from a tough blow on Wednesday night, and I'm real proud of them for that.

Q: Considering the S.C. loss, how big was this game?

KS: Well, any time you lose one, the next one takes on greater significance. There's more pressure with it, and when you lose one at home, you have lost the margin of error that you may have built when you win one on the road. That's the situation we were in. I hate to call it a ‘do or die' game, but certainly for our season to keep going the way we needed it to, this is a game we needed to win. We just tried to focus on four minutes at a time, and we can't look at it and have it be all-encompassing. We need to break things down into small segments and focus on the part that we can control. We can't control what else is going on in the league race and what else is going on elsewhere around the country. We can only control what we do, and we played well today.

Q: Could you talk about how well DeMarre played today?

KS: Well, DeMarre has been good for us, and they were playing off of him. He hit some shots. He's an active guy, and he did a nice job on the inside against their zone. He's very effective for us in the zone offense when we put the ball in his hands inside the defense. He had a great offensive performance today.

Q: Julian Terrell had 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

KS: Wow. I didn't notice that. That's pretty good, isn't it? He's our point forward. 3 blocked shots. I thought that Julian gave us a presence today that we haven't had in a couple of games, especially in the first half. I think seven rebounds at halftime. He really meant business in the first half, but our team needs to have that from him in every game.

Q: Duke just lost at Georgetown, and Vanderbilt remains the only team to have beaten Georgetown in D.C. How does that make our victory against the Hoyas look?

KS: Well, I don't know. It makes it look great to me, but it's looked great to me since we left Washington. Hopefully, it will matter in the committee's eyes when March comes.

Q: What allowed you to shut down Jamont Gordon, who has been the Bulldogs' best offensive player in lots of games this year?

KS: You know, I think that he just struggled to make shots. He had some decent looks at the basket, and I also thought Derrick did a nice job on him. Derrick gets a lot of tough defensive assignments, and he's done a good job for us. He did an exceptional shot tonight, but I also thought that Jamont missed some open looks that might go in for him on normal occasions. Top Stories