Thursday, February 23, 2017

Transcript: Mississippi State Head Coach Vic Schaefer, Players Victoria Vivians, Morgan William, Jr. Post UK Hoops 78 vs Mississippi State 75 Senior Night Comments

Mississippi State Head Coach Vic Schaefer, Players Victoria Vivians, Morgan William, Jr. Post UK Hoops 78 vs Mississippi State 75 Senior Night Comments

Opening statement…

“I really want to compliment Kentucky and their kids. They really played an outstanding ball game and this should be about them. They certainly played harder than us tonight and I have to wear that as the coach. I obviously didn’t have my kids ready to play. We turned the ball over 22 times and again, I’ll give Kentucky credit for that, and we only forced nine so I’ll also give them credit for that. They really took care of the ball and that may have been the fewest turnovers we forced all year. And of course, Evelyn (Akhator) and Makayla (Epps) both were sensational tonight. Epps has now beaten me twice on the same play. Two years ago she beat us with the same play – offensive rebound and a stick back. So it’s disappointing, but at the same time you really have to take your hat off to those kids. They really willed themselves to victory and really played really hard. I thought their kids really played hard. I thought that first half we had a lot of issues with the point guard position. I thought Morgan (William) played very well in the second half and we ironed some of that out, but during the first half we really struggled offensively and defensively. Even though the book only said they had two fast break points, I felt like I was looking at a completely different game ‘cause I thought they had 10 to 12 fast break points. It was obviously a great basketball game, but I didn’t have my kids ready. I’ll take responsibility for that. I don’t like getting outplayed or outhustled, but we did tonight and that’s my responsibility and you have to take your hat off to Kentucky. Those kids played extremely hard. They’ve always done that. It didn’t matter that it was senior night because I think if it had been any other night, they would’ve done the same thing. We’ve got to go home now and try to win one at home.”

On his final assessment of MSU’s offense…
“We were driving to the hole and we fell down. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t answer anything further than that. It’s a tough deal, but that’s all I can tell you right now. I know what the official assessment was.”

On what accounted for their 22 turnovers…“We just tried to do too much with the ball. We had people trying to do things that they didn’t need to do. Again, it was my fault for putting them in those positions. It’s my job as a coach to put them in positions where they can be successful. We can’t turn the ball over like that. We have to take better care of the ball, but that’s how Kentucky is. They’re really handsy, they steal and they do a really good job at it, so you have to take extra care of the ball. We just didn’t do that tonight. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure our kids understand that. We go over one down everyday and the way we guarded it tonight, it looked like Ned in the third grade. We didn’t guard it hardly at all. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and I was literally going insane on a couple things that we kept doing over and over again. Obviously I didn’t do a very good job of coaching my kids tonight, but this should be about Kentucky. They did a tremendous job tonight and those kids played extremely well and hard and you have to take your hat off to them.”

On what changed against Evelyn Akhator in the second half…
“I don’t think anything changed, we just didn’t have an explosive player to turn and run. We would turn and walk and then our help side was really nowhere to be found. She’s not an assist player, we talked about that, and she’s got like seven or nine assists in fourteen games. When she puts her head down, she’s going. So if you’re in help you have to get there or get run over. We’re pretty good at taking charge, but we didn’t turn to run and stay with her and that kid just attacked us off the bounce all second half.”

On Makayla Epps overall…
“She owns me. She’s singlehandedly beat me both times here. Here, she’s been special. I’ll take some solace in knowing that she’s done it to a bunch of people. She’s a heck of a player and she’s just got a real presence about her. So, you have to give Kentucky credit. They went to her quite a bit. The play that beats us is her hustle play on the rebound – it’s happened twice in our last two visits here.”

Mississippi State Student-Athletes

#35 Victoria Vivians, Jr., G

On her memory of the foul sequence…

“Coach drew up a play and I went to do what Coach said, but I guess I traveled.”

#2 Morgan William, Jr., PG

On team changes in second half…

“Basically, Coach just told me to guard the ball, attack the basket, because we ended up giving them bonus, and just put our heads down and attack like they were doing us. We had all the fouls, so we weren’t playing aggressive enough. We weren’t getting to the rim, but once we started getting to the rim we made them run.”

On personal changes in second half…
“I just attacked the basket. I looked for my shot and I looked to get to the rim. I was being passive in the first half, so I figured it was up to me to step up in the second half for my team.”

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