"For our guys, you play with a little heavy heart," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "They're going to move on a little bit every day. They'll put it behind them, but it's certainly not going to be out of their minds. In a situation like that, I don't know how it becomes motivating to anybody except for the fact maybe the lessons Nick taught you in life and trying to live your life to the fullest."
"Of course they’ll want to dedicate this game to Nick. I’m dedicating this game to Nick. I’m going to dedicate the rest of the season to Nick," Dareus said. "I’m going to go out and do the best I can."
"We’re probably going to play four more games regardless. That’s a quarter of a season. There’s a lot of improvement and a lot of things that can be done and accomplished relative to the results this team can get," UA coach Nick Saban said. "Am I concerned that this team has the pride in performance to do that? I think it’s a reality check for them to see how important it is to you and what are you willing to do to make it happen."
Apparently the Crimson Tide's strength and conditioning coach was not in a good mood.
"Coach (Scott) Cochran was kind of disappointed, because a lot of people were approaching it with a glass-half-full-type of mentality, as opposed to not as much intensity or disappointment," McElroy said.
"It would be a big win for us," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "We have pretty high expectations of ourselves and expectations of how we want our season to be. We've been successful to a point so far, so that would be a natural deal for us to improve on that success and continue on our good year."
"Am I concerned that this team has the pride and performance to do that?" he said. "I think it’s a reality check for them to see how important it is to them, and what they are willing to do to make it happen. I know as a coaching staff we’re very committed to doing the things that we need to do to try to make that happen, and we’ll work very hard starting today to make that happen."
Freshman point guard Trevor Releford led Alabama with 22 points, including seven in the overtime periods. His short jumper with 35 seconds remaining in the second overtime period gave Alabama a three-point lead, 71-68, and probably sealed the win for UA.
"I just wanted to do what I could to help my team win," said Releford, who was also the leading scorer in last week’s exhibition win over Talladega.
"Obviously, I'd heard of Sportsman of the Year," McElroy said. "I have probably every one of those dating back to 1988 when I was born. It's remarkable when you look at the people that have won it in the past and look at the people that have been nominated in the past. It's just a tremendous honor to even be mentioned in the same breath.