Postgame Quotes from Alabama's 64-56 win over Mississippi State



Feb. 20, 2013

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening statement:

“It wasn’t pretty, but the end result is we’re 10-3 [in the SEC]. I think if you look at some of the offensive highlights, obviously Cooper today had a double-double, 20-10. I thought Releford gave us great energy in the second half. I thought some of the defensive plays that he made really helped change the game. The last couple of minutes, we got some defensive stats that allowed us to get the win.”

On team’s response in last three minutes:

“We were able to come up with some big defensive stops. We were able to come up with some steals that allowed us to extend the lead very late in the last couple of minutes. We had some big steals that got us to the free-throw line to preserve the win.”

On the team taking care of themselves:

“I think for our team – and we talked about this before the game – we are 10-3, but it’s fragile because it has been one or two possession games that we have been fortunate to win. There’s not a lot of difference when you look at one team, us, that’s in second place, and a team that’s in last place. There’s not a lot of difference. If one team plays hard, with passion and purpose, anything can happen and I think you saw that tonight. I give Mississippi State credit. I thought they played with great energy, great passion. In the second half we were outplayed. We were fortunate that we made enough plays to preserve the win.”

On first winning season:

“Our goals are obviously bigger. I think our guys understand what we are striving to do and where we want to be as a program. Hopefully we will be at that point in the future when we are not talking about those types of milestones, but those milestones that lead toward championships.”

Alabama Sophomore Guard Rodney Cooper

On difference in shooting between first and second half:

“My teammates created [open looks] for me. I just tried to make the right play.”

On if Cooper’s shooting shifted the momentum of the game:

“I just played off how my defender was guarding me. I’m just trying to make shots for my team.”

On Cooper collecting 10 rebounds on the night:

“I’m proud of it. I didn’t realize I had 10 rebounds until after the game. I’ve got to just keep working.”

Alabama Junior Guard Trevor Releford

On Cooper’s shooting triggering a run:

“It was huge for our team; we needed that spark. That’s what Coop (Rodney Cooper) does. He’s a knock-down shooter He took an open shot and he made it.”

On stretches in which the team struggles:

“We just didn’t have any energy and when we don’t have energy we play like that. We have slumps, we don’t score and we give up plays on the defensive end, too. When we come out like that, things like that happen.”

On Mississippi State narrowing the Tide’s lead to 47-43 in the second half:

“They made their run. We knew as a team that we had to stay together and keep fighting. We came back and we were able to push our lead up.”

Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Ray

Opening Statement:

“I am really pleased with the way our guys came out and competed tonight. To be honest with you when you are in a situation like we are – losing nine straight games, guys suspended, guys with injuries, only dealing with six scholarship guys and two walk-ons – I was a little worried after we had those tough loses at home to LSU and Texas A&M where our team psyche was and whether they were going to be able to go out and continue to compete. I didn’t think we had done that in our last couple of games as far as having a competitive spirit and going out and fighting. The thing I was most concerned about tonight was having our guys go out and compete and fight – and I thought they did a great job of that.

I’ll give you an instance: Fred Thomas was 0-for-6 from the three-point line and 0-for-7 from the field and in the past Fred Thomas wouldn’t defend if he was having a streak like that, but Fred Thomas did an unbelievable job defensively – I thought he gave [Trevor] Lacey some problems guarding the basketball.

Our whole team brought a tremendous competitive spirit. We went back to some things offensively towards the end of the game as far as not taking care of the basketball and turning the ball over – because I thought when our defense was set, we did a really good job against Alabama, but towards the end there, when we turned the basketball over and we were trying to run them down on fast-breaks because of our turnovers, then our defense is obviously is not very good.”

On after Jalen Steele hit the three-point shot late:

“I believe at that time there were about four or five minutes left in the ball game and that mentality we want to have is just a point a minute. I think we were down eight with 7:50 left in the game – I told our guys just make up a point a minute – that’s all we are trying to do. Don’t try to get it all back at one time. That’s the mentality we have to have – just grind it out possession by possession – don’t try to get it all at once.”

Mississippi State Freshman Guard Craig Sword

On only having six points after coming off a career-high 25 points against LSU last week:

“I was going too fast. That game [against LSU] I was pacing myself. But this game I was going a little too fast and I turned the ball over and fouled out.”

On playing his first year in college:

“It’s been good. The biggest adjustment I have had is just playing point guard. It’s hard, but that’s something I’ve got to get used to.”

On turning this loss around and getting used to losing:

“It’s something I’ve got to adjust to. When the new season comes in, we’ve got to play harder and get some wins."