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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 14, 2013


Colin Borchert

Rick Ray

Craig Sword


NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

TENNESSEE テや 69
MISSISSIPPI STATE - 53


THE MODERATOR:テつ All right.テつ We're ready to begin with Mississippi State.テつ We'll ask Coach Ray for some opening comments on the game.テつ Then we'll take your questions just for the two student athletes and send them back to the locker room and then finish up with Coach Ray.
Coach, would you begin.
COACH RAY:テつ On this game particularly, I thought Tennessee did a really good job executing their offense and attacking our man defense and especially our 1-3-1 defense.テつ I thought we did a great job to get some opportunities at the rim and get some easy looks at the basket.テつ I thought we did a poor job in the first half turning the basketball over which led to some easy offense for them.テつ We talked about this before the game with our guys.テつ They had 42 points in the paint compared to our 24 and we had to find a way to limit their points in the paint.
So, I thought Tennessee was an NCAA Tournament team before we played them and I definitely think that now and I think they needed that win to validate them being in the NCAA Tournament team.
In regards to our team, this is my first time being a head coach.テつ I've been in this business for 20 years, and I've never been in a situation where a team has dealt with this much adversity both on and off the court.テつ And I can't tell you how proud I am to be the coach here at Mississippi State because our kids, no matter what happened, continued to fight and play hard and represent the university well.
None of these kids knew me.テつ They could have said first year head coach, I'm not going the play hard for him, not going to listen to him, and nobody did that.テつ And so I'm really looking forward to coaching these young men in the off-season and see what we can do with 13 scholarship players instead of six.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.
Questions for either student athletes?

Q.テつ Craig, I thought yesterday you said were you a little nervous heading into your first SEC Tournament game.テつ You weren't nervous tonight.テつ How did you feel about the way you played?
CRAIG SWORD:テつ Well, I had to come out and play hard for my team, and first half I didn't play too good.テつ I was still a little nervous, but once I got into the game, I started to play hard.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for either of student athletes?テつ Raise your hand.

Q.テつ For either player, y'all kept fighting and diving for all the loose balls and getting as many steals as you could.テつ What was the mentality there and did you see some loose passes to be had there?
COLIN BORCHERT:テつ In our mentality when we step out on the court, we're going to grind it out every day.テつ That's one thing Coach Ray and all the other coaches trying to tell us and do every day in practice and every day in games.テつ So that's what we just try to do, we try to go out there and just grind.テつ We try to get the lead back, keep on working.テつ What our coach said at halftime, we're down but don't -- we can just keep on grinding out minute by minute, point by point.テつ That's what we try to do.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for either of players?テつ Hands up.テつ Okay.テつ Fellas, thank you.テつ You'll be excused to the locker room.テつ We'll continue on with questions for Coach Ray.

Q.テつ Coach, what will you remember most about this team this year?
COACH RAY:テつ Well, I think the one thing I'll remember is just how much these guys gave themselves to me.テつ Like I stated before, they could have easily just pitched it in and saw that they were down in numbers with 6, 7 scholarship guys and just not played hard for me at all.テつ But I really think it speaks to the character of our kids that we have on our team that they respected themselves enough, Mississippi State university enough, and then our coaching staff enough to continue to fight and compete through all the adversity.テつ That's what I'll remember the most.

Q.テつ Coach, two questions:テつ First, what makes Tennessee such a tough out?テつ And then second, we talked before about Craig growing, how much did he grow in this NCAA Tournament -- I'm sorry, SEC Tournament?
COACH RAY:テつ Well, just talking about Tennessee, the one thing that you come away with is just how physical they are.テつ You know, they just do a great job -- we use the terminology of walling up.テつ Anytime you're around the basketball, they just really put their body into you and make it hard and difficult for you to score and finish inside.
So they just have that mentality that you may get at the rim, but you're going to have a difficult time finishing at the rim and you saw that today.テつ I thought we had a lot of opportunities at the rim that we just couldn't finish because of the physicality their defense.
In regards to Craig Sword, I think you saw the maturation of him throughout the whole season.テつ At some point in time, we couldn't even get him to dribble the ball up court because he would turn it over all the time.テつ Now we see his turnovers are starting to reduce and he's starting to go make more plays, not just for himself but also for others, too.
You know, he was All Freshman team, and I think everybody started to see the talent that he has.テつ I think he's going to get even better, because what you notice is most kids make the biggest jump in their first off-season in college basketball.テつ I'm looking forward to how good he's going to really become.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Other questions, raise your hands, other questions for Coach Ray.テつ Hands up.

Q.テつ Coach, you mentioned the struggles playing shorthanded.テつ You had a couple guys go down at some point in the first half.テつ Would you talk about where your mindset was at that point may even more shorthanded?
COACH RAY:テつ I hate to be this way, but I don't even notice anymore.テつ It seems like every game we have somebody go down with some sort of ailment and I just sub them right away and get a report from our trainer, Scottie later on.テつ I've seen so many guys go down throughout the course of the season.テつ I don't even begin to speculate whether it's serious or not serious.テつ I think the way I do just kind of remove myself from it and talk about the Xs and Os and get the subs, you be in there and go talk to Scottie and just figure out how severe the injury is.
We've got tough kids.テつ I mean, like they keep hitting the ground and going.テつ They know like there's a chance when they go diving for that loose ball that they can get injured, but it doesn't stop them from doing it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for Coach Ray?テつ All right.テつ Thank you very much.
COACH RAY:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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