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TRANSCRIPT: Everything Chris Beard said after Ole Miss men’s basketball defeated Vanderbilt, 69-56

TRANSCRIPT: Everything Chris Beard said after Ole Miss men’s basketball defeated Vanderbilt, 69-56

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss men’s basketball defeated Vanderbilt, 69-56, Saturday in the SJB Pavilion, marking the longest winning streak for the building at 10. Head coach Chris Beard met with media after the Rebels’ win. Here’s everything he had to say. 

Media: So I think it was around the 7:27 minute mark, that timeout when Vandy kind of got it close, and it felt like your guys kind of regrouped and pulled away. Just what was the message in that and what did you see coming out of that time out?

Coach Beard: Yeah I think in that segment, our shot selection…we’re not going to turn down open threes when our best shooters have them, but I think there’s a responsibility to go rebound a miss from time to time. And obviously today was a positive for us to out-rebound the opponent, and we did it by committee, right. When Matt (Murrell) and Brandon (Murray) have five or six defensive rebounds, it’s good for our team. It’s also really good for our offense. You know, it’s almost always a transition opportunity when one of our guards gets a defensive rebound. I thought the guys were dialed in today on rebounding, among other things.

Media: I know you haven’t watched this film yet, but just from watching this game and film from Wednesday, what would have been your takeaways from these two different kind of style of wins coming off the last Saturday?

Coach Beard: Yeah, my mind’s pretty much always on the game, I can’t even really remember who we played last, but I know today we had an offensive game plan to try to have some balance, and we got four guys to double figures with another guy at nine. So if we can get five guys in double-figure scoring, it’s always good for us the way we like to play. 

I thought it was a low turnover second half. We really responded. We had some self-inflicted mistakes in the first half, turnover wise, and that’s going to happen. It’s not a perfect game as much as we strive for that. But in the second half, to take care of the ball, I think we only had two or three turnovers in the second half, that’s good for our offense. And then again defensively today, I just liked our team defense from where I was sitting. You know, we had five guys in a stance. And again, defending maybe one of the most difficult offenses to defend in the SEC because of their movement and their screening and their cutting and then obviously their point guards. He’s a dynamic player, he’s very, very fast. I mean, he’s speed on speed. And I thought our guys did a good job containing him the best we could.

Media: Today’s victory marks ten consecutive home wins. What does it say about what you’re building here in Oxford to kind of get the fans more engaged in Ole Miss basketball?

Coach Beard: Yeah, I think give credit all of the players. You know, I mean, if you’re going to do the things we’d like to do to be one of those teams that in the tournament has a chance to win six games in three weekends, then you’ve got to have some streaks throughout the season. And, if the ultimate goal is to win six in a row, you got to do it a few times during the year to prove to yourself that you can do that. Then, you know, program wise, I just think a lot has gone into this. We have a home court advantage in Oxford now, and it’s got to continue to get better. And it will. But the main message is, thank you for all the people that are jumping on board early, not just today, but from the season opener to the throwback game to some games during the break. We’ve had great, great attendance and it’s only going to get better.

Media: Chris before the games today, this was the best three-point shooting team in the SEC, percentage wise. Is that an outcome that you first foresaw when you built this roster? Has that surprised you, your success there so far?

Coach Beard: In terms of all the stats and stuff, I think it’s too early. Like, my personal philosophy is you go through the first half of the 18-round fight, you kind of see where you’re at, and when you make that turn, there’ll be some teams that have a chance to compete for a championship. There’ll be other teams that are trying to get back in the fight. So for us, all the statistical stuff we don’t spend much time on. 

I think I said a couple times earlier in the season when we had some off nights and people were even asking questions about our shooting, we have good shooters. I think to be a quality team, you’ve got to have 4 or 5 guys that are 40% three point shooters. And different guys have different shot selections. But there’s no doubt about it, you know, we need that. I agree with Matt (Murrell). Our guys put in a lot of work. We’re committed to that, among many other things. Guys get in the gym. Our green light shooters, and we’ve got that next-tier three point shooter that we have a lot of confidence in. Every guy’s got a little bit different role and shot selection, but no, three point shots is a weapon for us.We’ve got good shooters that put in a lot of time. 

Media: Could you explain the 300 club thing he was talking about? 

Coach Beard: Yeah, it’s just one of many things. I’ve always thought that we’re sitting there on the bench and we’ve got five guys out there representing the whole organization, and we’re trying to get a good shot. The first thing is we don’t want to give it to the other team. Then, we want to get a good shot and a good shot is it’s the right player taking the right shot. So, certainly guys that have the green light to pull from three for us, we expect you know them to do their part of the deal. There’s responsibility. You know just can’t go out there because I think you’re a good shooter or you think you’re a good shooter. Or your mom thinks you’re a good shooter. The proof is in the stat sheet and not just the game stat sheet. You know, we stat every individual workout. We stat the 300 club, we stat the quality 100. This goes all the way back to the summer. So, you know, guys are striving for that. And that’s not selfish to chase stats in team sports. We don’t ever talk about points per game because that comes and goes, but we do talk a lot about percentages and assist-to-turnover ratio and rebounds and steals. And you know, when you get competitive players chasing those individual things, that’s team sport. That’s not selfish. So it should be a fight to see who can get the most rebounds. It should be a fight to see who can get the best assist screens, steals. So we have a competitive locker room and we have some veteran players that it’s important to them. Nobody wants to win more than we do. And I haven’t always been able to say that about every team we’ve coached. You know? But these guys are internally competitive. And, we have a vision for the program and we have a plan to get there. We’re only three rounds into this 18-round fight, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. But I like where our guys’ hearts are. These guys care, and they really do.

Media: Coach, it’s to be commended on your success and the job you’ve done here. When you look back and you think about what you’ve put together here, was it difficult in getting the players to buy into the culture that you established?

Coach Beard: It’s good to see you, Jesse. Love you, man.You know, all that starts in recruiting. You kind of recruit the guy that you want to coach. That’s why I’ve always had the utmost respect for high school coaches. Because for the most part, those guys can’t control who they coach. You know, we can. We go out and recruit the players on our team. So, we start with that, you know. Will this guy be bought in to what we’re trying to do? Will he understand our expectations? Will he understand how we hold guys accountable? So for us, it starts in the recruiting process, trying to get the right guys that we think want to play team basketball, that we think want to win, want to be a part of something special. Then once you get the guys here, I mean, you know as well as I do, a lot goes into team chemistry and stuff. And these guys have really fought to become a team, and we’ve got a long ways to go. We’re just getting started here in SEC play. But these guys, they care about each other. And we do have a culture that’s developing. I don’t know if it’s completely built yet. We’re working on it on a daily basis, but the players are bought in to what we’re trying to get done. And I’d say the same thing, you know, when the scoreboard isn’t in our favor. Even in some of our disappointing moments, we were connected. It might not have looked like that at Tennessee, but you know, we didn’t beat ourselves that night. We just got beat by a better opponent in that 40-minute game.

Media: Chris, when you have a guy like Matt go for 18 in the first half, how did you feel like that kind of opened up opportunities in the second half for other guys? Maybe they were focusing on him? 

Coach Beard: Yeah, absolutely. Veterans like Matt (Murrell) understand that too. Scoring comes when you’re on a good team. Scoring comes in bunches, and it’s important to let the game come to you. And I thought Matt did exactly that. He took great shots from where I was sitting all game long. And there’s no question we got some open looks in the second half because of Matt being on the floor, whether it be a pick and roll or spacing or things like that. So that’s an unselfish player. He really is. That dude’s about one thing — winning. And for us to win, he’s got to score the ball. And he obviously did that today.

Media: And then coming off of that Tennessee game now having these two performances, just how impressed are you that these guys were able to flush that and then come out firing these last two games?

Coach Beard: Responding is a big part of a team sport. You know it’s not going to be rainbows and popsicles every day. (I’ve been thinking about popsicles. I was at Rascal’s convenience store the other night and got…You guys ever had the Twix ice cream bar…Try the Twix ice cream bar. I’m telling you, and I’m not even a Twix guy. That’s not my candy bar of choice. But they’ve got something going on with their ice cream bar. It’s incredible. But no, every day is not going to be Twix ice cream bars. So we had the ability to respond, and not just from game to game from, you know, but from practice drill to practice drill, from possession to possession. And these guys have shown the ability to respond, and that’s a good trait of hopefully a team that can do some things here in the last few months of the season.

Media: Chris, for all the scoring you guys have done in the first half of this game and the Florida game, you guys kind of ran cold in the second half and still found a way to close out Vanderbilt by what, 13 points? What do you learn about your team from that?

Chris Beard: Yeah, there was some maturity there, no doubt. I thought we were taking good shots for the most part. I’d like to be able to get some more offensive rebounds when we go in those segments of getting good shots, but not just making them. And then I thought defensively, we we did have some maturity to us. You know, when that thing got to ten a couple times and you feel kind of the pressure I thought the guys were dialed in. There wasn’t any panic from where I was sitting. And then we were able to string some stops together. You know, for us, if we get three consecutive stops in a game, we call that a kill. We’re always trying to get about seven kills a game. And we actually did get a couple kills in the second half when our offense wasn’t helping us much.

Media: I don’t want to imply anything here, but the transfer portal…there are some coaches that love it. There are some coaches that hate it. It’s obvious that you love it. Would you talk a little bit about the portal and the future? 

Coach Beard: Yeah. What I love above all is good players, period. And so good players come in different ways, and it’s always been like that. Our teams have always had a balance of younger guys, older guys, international guys, local guys. And so in today’s college basketball, you know, the portal is reality. You can either embrace it or run from it. And we certainly have (embraced it). And it’s not just about the guys that we’re fortunate enough to get. We’ve got some good players around the country that are playing at other schools right now, and we pull for those guys too. So, you know, each player makes an individual decision but we pull for all players, not just the ones we get from time to time. We see a player make a decision they think is best for them. But no, it’s all about recruiting, you know, whatever way we have to find them, wherever we have to go. You know, we’re trying to get players here that can compete for SEC championships and in this first year’s team, and we’ve got good players. I said that at the very first press conference we had. There’ll be no asterisks next to this first year’s team. You know, we’re proud of the talent we have. We feel like we can compete against anybody.

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

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