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Feb. 28, 2015

South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening statement
I’m proud of our guys, to come out and play well at home. We challenged our three guards after the Alabama game because we didn’t think they were very aggressive, not just in shooting the ball, but just aggressive on offense. They fought defensively and they want to win but we weren’t aggressive and those three guards have to be aggressive to be good and all three came out today and responded. I’m happy as heck for Ty [Johnson]. To deal with the ball pressure that they put on you, the variety of presses and to only have one turnover, take care of that ball and set a career high in your second-to-last home game, that’s what you want from seniors. We challenged them after Alabama and when players respond to challenges that means that’s why they’re good players.

On overall defensive play
Every time they attacked us, it was against our zone and our so-called contain man-to-man defense. When you’ve got seven guys in practice for two weeks, it’s hard to work on your zone offense; it’s hard to work on your zone defense. You can dummy X-number of things but you need game repetition. You need good players coming at you. Our zone is way too passive on the ball. Our man-to-man aggressive man, I thought was good. They made some hard shots against it, but I thought it was good. Our ball screen defense, the first two plays of the game were awful, but then after that, was as solid as it had been in awhile. Our other defenses weren’t very good and we got in foul trouble. I couldn’t expose Duane [Notice] and Sindarius [Thornwell] to picking up a cheap foul at the half court line so I had to buy time…We had to hope we kept making shots and play intelligently on offense and we did and that’s what saved us.

South Carolina Senior Guard Tyrone Johnson
On offensive performance
It was kind of just, keep running our offense. Don’t give into their run and keep doing what coach asked us to do. Keep being aggressive, make the extra pass and just make shots. Today was one of those days where we made shots, ran good offense, played good defense. I thought that first half, every team is going to make their run, and we played like grown men toward the second half and stayed with the lead and made some free throws down the stretch.

South Carolina Junior Forward Laimonas Chatkevicius
On how he approached offensive game
Personally, once we started making the run, I think I scored after that or during it and, so I was just concerned about defense and helping on the drives.

Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Ray
On why South Carolina was successful
I think they were more physically aggressive than us in their offensive game. They put their head down and drove the basketball and created opportunities for their teammates. They just wore us out on the post.

On Craig Sword’s performance
I thought he went out there and competed like he normally does. He does a really good job of attacking but we have got to do a better job on the defensive end. Our offense was fine.