Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer took the podium Sunday night with emotion written all over his face.
It was also heard in his voice as he got choked up starting his postgame press conference.
The reason was what happened at Humphrey Coliseum.
The No. 17 Bulldogs knocked off No. 14 Texas A&M 63-61 in overtime – the first victory for Schaefer over his former team.
“I could get real emotional up here,” Schaefer said. “I’m just so proud of our kids. “So proud of our kids for just their effort and their focus.”
Schaefer is in his third season with the Bulldogs after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach for the Aggies.
The first two seasons were not kind to Schaefer when the two teams matched up. The Bulldogs lost 81-33 to the Aggies at home in 2013 and dropped a 73-35 decision in College Station, Texas a season ago.
“The team the last two years, was not ready to play. The coaching staff was ready to play, but they couldn’t score the points,” A&M head coach Gary Blair said who spend 15 seasons with Schaefer. “Throw those two games out the window. I was trying to win by one coming in here because I knew what it was going to be like.”
Senior center Martha Alwal led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and 33rd of her career, the most by any current Southeastern Conference player.
Alwal and her teammates celebrated on the court following the victory and the Worthington, Minn., native grabbed a microphone and said some encouraging words to the 4,651 fans in attendance.
Schaefer pointed out that Alwal has been through a lot in her career with the coaching change, and Alwal let her emotions pour out.
“I’m just really, really excited,” Alwal said. “Since my freshman year, we’ve played A&M and every single time we’ve played them, they’ve blown us out, completely blown us out. We had no chance of getting into the game. Us getting this win (Sunday) was so huge for us. I said it before the game ‘I have a good feeling about this game.’ We just went out there and worked so hard. I’m so proud of our team.”
It is Schaefer’s second win over a top 15 opponent in his three seasons and his third win over a top 25 team this season.