ON GAME INTENSITY... "Our intensity was not poor tonight, but they have a gear, athletically that we do not own. They are faster and quicker all around, and they showed it all night. They are just flat out more athletic than we are. It was not that they were trying hard and we were not, they just are more athletic than we are. I know Mississippi State has got a very good basketball team, and they showed that to me tonight."
ON STATE BEING ABLE TO KNOCK DOWN SHOTS... "If they make shots like that, and play with that type of athleticism, it makes it very difficult for them to beat. They were just quicker at everything they did; they were quicker off the dribble, quicker on defense, quicker to the rim. They played every facet of the almost as well as they could play, or close to their full potential."
ON MISSISSIPPI STATE'S WINNING STREAK... "We would have preferred to have played Mississippi State when they started out 2-5 in the league, but unfortunately we caught them once they got hot."
ON MISSISSIPPI STATE'S QUICK LEAD IN THE FIRST HALF... "It was 6-4, and then we turned the ball over in transition so they converted and never let up. They jumped on us quick, and it seemed they never really got off of it. Our kids kept fighting, especially throughout the second half, but it was not good enough tonight."
ON MATCHING UP WITH MISSISSIPPI STATE... "Well, they are not a good team for us to match up with, but we have faced a lot of those teams this season. We adapted well tonight, but we knew coming into the game they were a tough matchup. Their athleticism is what hurt us tonight. We did not play flat, we just got beat by a team that was better than us tonight."
Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Stansbury
OPENING COMMENTS... "As I just told our team, I don't know if we have played much harder as a group tonight. The thing that we are getting better is defending and it was apparent at LSU and tonight. I have much respect for Vanderbilt and Kevin Stallings. Offensively, that basketball team is as good as any team in the country. I thought in the first half when we were really manning them; we guarded them as well as they could be guarded. I am very proud of the way we defended a great offensive basketball team. You saw them play Saturday against Florida and that was no fl uke. They have been on the road and won at Kentucky and LSU. I thought we had some special efforts - Jamont Gordon was special all night long. Charles Rhodes was a beast inside offensively and they had no answer for him. Dietric Slater was Dietric Slater and the twins [Reginald and Richard Delk] took on a challenge defensively on [Derrick Byars and [Shan] Foster. We all know how big it is, it's one game and we have three left. Our guys showed another level of maturity coming out of the locker room in the second half."
ON A CLOSE TO PERFECT GAME... "I thought we did a lot of things awfully well and played so hard. We had all the parts working well - Jamont Gordon pushing in transition and getting in the lane and kicking it out for three's. Charles Rhodes one-on-one in the post and Dietric Slater made Dietric Slater plays all night long."
ON JAMONT GORDON'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE... "In nine games that is 44 assists and 16 turnovers in that span. I am not very good in math, but I will take that from any point guard. The thing that doesn't show up in the stats is how hard he plays and how competitive he is."
ON THE FIRST COUPLE MINUTES OF THE GAME... "It was crucial that everybody came ready to play. I was pleased with our guys off the bench and they gave us good minutes. They continue to play to their roles and feel in the spots that need to be filled."
ON THE SEC WESTERN DIVISION... "You can finish anywhere from first to fifth with three games left. All of them are important, but this is one game."
44 - Jamont Gordon - Sophomore Guard/Forward
On last time having triple- double... "The last time was probably in high school. I know I had a couple back at Oak Hill."
On best first half all season... "I think that is the best that we have played all year. Everyone was involved. We were making plays and playing great defense out there and sharing the ball. Everything was good out there."
On getting juiced [pumped] to play Vanderbilt with the Nashville connection... "I got juiced because I know we have a chance to go win the championship. That is what got me juicing. I just went out there and played hard and came out with a triple-double."
22 - Dietric Slater - Senior Guard/Forward
On shutting down wingmen... "Usually before a game, Coach [Stansbury] puts a little newspaper clipping up on how the media is talking about the good wing players on the opposing team. The media said Byars [Derrick] was a player of the year candidate in the SEC. They have been jumping on the twins [Reginald and Richard Delk] a lot this week. We can win if they just stop the wing guys. Coach [Stansbury] said they played great defense on the wings all night."
On being a veteran during a championship run... "After we lost to South Carolina, I'm not sure if we can get it to the point where still compete for a ring and win the west. We beat LSU and we finally won on the road at Auburn that built the confidence that we needed. We are where we need to be. We are playing at peak performance. Everything is working for us right now."
23 - Charles Rhodes - Junior Forward/Center
On peaking at right time... "It is coming to the postseason and we are making our step right now."
On dunks sending a message... "That was a message sent early. I told Coach [Stansbury] give me the ball and he made sure the first play was going to come through me because we knew they were going to dump ball screens and it fell right in my hands."