The Kentucky Wildcats showed true resilience and strength Saturday against the aggressive LSU Tigers. With their second overtime game of the season, the Wildcats didn’t crack or crumble, they fought back to win the game 77-76 with a last second shot by Julius Randle, who wasn’t having his best offensive games of the season. Lexington Herald Leader writer Jerry Tipton mentioned a few quotes by Randle within one of his most recent articles, that emphasize the resilience the Wildcats had to show in order to win Saturday,
“That was the basketball gods,” Randle said. ” … They had been trying to box me out the whole game. Killing me. But, luckily, that one just fell right into my hands.”
“Plenty of times we could have put our head down,”
“There was a time we did put our head down. We could have said, ‘Just forget it’ and lost the game.”
“But we didn’t. We kept fighting.”
Hearing a 19 year old who just single handedly won the team the game, with a last second shot use “we” to describe what was needed to win the game shows the growth and maturity the Wildcats are looking for. The timing for this growth and maturity couldn’t have come at a better time as they’re heading into the end of SEC play. The game against LSU was just a taste how the SEC and NCAA Tournament could play out. With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats came out with a win, playing like the team everyone knew they could be capable of in November.
In every game you see a glimpse of what the team can look like when they play together, in each game that glimpse gets larger and larger, surely to soon become an entire game played to their best ability. Through the leadership development of the Harrison Twins, James Young taking it to the basket rather than taking contested threes, Dakari Johnson’s ability to be an inside man, Julius Randle’s presence on the floor, Willie Cauley-Stein’s shot blocking, Alex Poythress’ seniority and maturity and Jarrod Polson’s ability to recollect the team, these Wildcats are growing into a force to be reckoned more and more in every game. It’s the sight all Wildcat fans have longed to see and are surely glad its finally coming together.