A wise man once said that all good things have to come to an end, and our three-game winning streak against the Kentucky Wildcats just ended. The 'Cats took us out by a score of 82-61 in Lexington. The score was closer than that for most of the night, but the 'Cats controlled it for the most part. Devan Downey led all scorers with 26, while the resurgent Patrick Patterson led the 'Cats with 23.
A few thoughts:
The cliche about deep runs into the NCAA tournament is that you need good guard play, but perhaps Kentucky just needs both of its twin towers. The return of a dominant Patrick Patterson has to be reassuring to 'Cats fans, as their team needs a senior leader, and it particularly needs a leader that gives other teams matchup problems. Patterson is the missing link for that team. He disappeared early in the season as John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins found their place; now, he's taken out Vandy at Memorial and has led a catty repulsion of the 'Cocks. He's probably the player to watch down the stretch for Kentucky, IMO, despite the fact that Wall and Cousins will continue to get the press.
- Three-point shooting has become the bane of our existence. After we lost Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes, we knew that we would have to live and die by the three. Well, we've died. We again shot poorly from outside, making only 20% of our three-point attempts. If we could have made a couple of these at key moments in the second half, the end game might have gone a bit differently. Alas.
- I was impressed with Lakeem Jackson's play tonight. Maybe he doesn't have a jump shot. Maybe he spends too much time close to the basket for a player of his size. But you know what? He has some skills, most of which have been underemphasized this year, when he's been put in the unwanted role of being the big man. And he hasn't had the luxury of getting to set up in the press while we've had trouble scoring. The guy has kept with the team, and I think he'll be ready to do his part to getting us to the NCAAs next year. That is all.
That's a wrap. In some ways, I feel like this game defined our season, just as did our victory over the same team earlier in the year. The truth is, we were dealt some rough blows this year, stood up and fought, and lost the uneven fight. But I can respect us for the way it's happened. Do you think a Dave Odom team could have survived this? I didn't think so. Next year, people. Next year. For real this time.
And GO 'COCKS!