For the second game in a row, Aaron Harrison hit the game winner.
For the third game in a row, he kept the Cats alive with a clutch three.
For the fourth game in a row, Kentucky has been part of an instant classic.
For the fifth game in a row, they’ve moved one step closer to the National Championship.
For the sixth game, they will play for number nine.
I’m not sure anyone will ever be able to properly describe what has happened with this Kentucky team the past month. There is no way to do it justice. With their fourth unbelievable win, Kentucky has entered into destiny mode, storming to the National Championship game without fear. The one with the least fear? Aaron Harrison.
When Aaron Harrison’s three sunk into the net with six seconds left, it had to be fate, right? For a freshman to hit that shot two games in a row, and this team to make this turnaround, it had to be destiny. After the second straight joyous dog pile, the team raved about Aaron in the locker room, crowing gleefully about his balls more than any man ever should in any other context. Cal called him “Aaron the Assassin,” and when he was asked about it, Aaron simply said, “I like winning.” Well, thank god for that.
Let’s not forget Alex
“But I’m telling you, he is a terrific player, and if we’re to do something special this weekend, you all will be talking about him this weekend.”
John Calipari said those words on Friday about Alex Poythress, and man, was he right. For the second game in a row, Alex roared the Cats back into the game, scoring four crucial points and grabbing two huge rebounds in the final five minutes. He also had a key offensive rebound and putback that was part of 15-0 run by the Cats early in the second half. With Willie out, Alex needed to have a big game, and he did.
Cal said that he thinks Marcus Lee’s big game against Michigan “woke [Alex] up” and gave him the confidence he needed to have a breakout game. Like he said about Marcus last weekend, Cal said he knew it was going to be a big day for Alex Poythress:
“I texted him before because I had a bunch of my friends say he’s going to have a big game. I texted him, This is what they’re saying, man, I love you. He said, I love you, coach, let’s go have some fun.”
Afterwards, Alex got stuck at the bottom of the dog pile and limped off the court, but insisted in the postgame presser that he was okay: “I’m fine.” You better be.
Wisconsin hit everything, but Kentucky still didn’t back down
For a moment there, it looked like it was going to be a sad night in Dallas. After Kentucky’s big run, Wisconsin responded with one of their own, and just. couldn’t. miss. from the outside. However, whereas Kentucky used to shrink from these moments, they now seize them. All those losses UK suffered during the regular season have transformed from the burden they shouldered to the foundation they stand on. Right, Cal?
“Late in the game, they have an unbelievable will to win, and part of that has come from how they have been treated all season. They have been ridiculed, criticized.”
When I heard this quote played over the speakers in the press box, I literally started crying.
This was an unbelievable moment, but it will in no way compare to what happens on Monday
if when the Cats win. And while no one can wipe the smile off their face tonight, Julius Randle says there’s no satisfaction for him yet: “I’m definitely not satisfied, We’ve got one more game to go.”
Hampered by cramps/tweaked ankle (conflicting reports), Randle wasn’t able to turn in his usual double-double, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds. However, he did hit some of the biggest shots of the game, and continues to be Kentucky’s most reliable threat down low. Dakari Johnson did his part, too, scoring ten points and pulling down seven rebounds in 18 minutes. All that worrying we did about Frank Kaminsky? Kentucky shut him down, holding him to only eight points and five rebounds.
As the lights go off around me, it’s good to know they’re still on for the Cats.