The Kentucky basketball team chalked up another win over an Ole Miss team they were expected to run out of Rupp Arena on Senior Night. However, instead of picking up speed for a raging rapid finish, the game felt more like a lazy river meandering along to an 83-72 win.
Kentucky (24-6, 13-4) was a 16.5 point favorite coming into the game but only came close to that with 5:51 to play when they went up 70-56. They continued to let the Rebels hang around and they chipped it down to just 6 points with 2:15 to play.
It was a game that you felt Kentucky was and should have been up by about 20 much of the 40 minutes. The offense looked really good and efficient moving things along, while the defense became stagnant and watched as their lead nearly went down the drain.
Kentucky basketball honors seniors while Washington, Wheeler, Tshiebwe shine
Thank goodness for Oscar Tshiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler. The little guy and the big man fueled this Wildcat team to victory with just one regular-season game left – at Florida on Saturday.
But as Wheeler pointed out after the game it’s a process of going through the daily grind that will take them to the finish line hopefully in New Orleans.
Coach John Calipari and the team were still loose, excited and all smiles after the game, and that is the thing that makes this team so special. They know what they need to do to be successful, and when they falter they know how to pick themselves back up move on.
“Yeah, we played faster. That’s what I wanted us to do, and that’s what we talked about, and we ground it out when we needed to. We had two plays that I went to the grind-out offense, and Kellan [Grady] got a three-foot, four-foot floater, and missed it. Keion [Brooks] got a 15-footer on the baseline, his shot, and missed it. But we did everything right. We grinded. We used clock. We just missed those shots.”
This late in the season Big Blue Nation is loving what this team represents and honestly can’t be discouraged about much.
Kentucky finished a perfect 18-0 at home in Rupp Arena. It’s a team filled with players fans love and it’s hard to recall a team that didn’t have at least one player that frustrated fans in some manner.
The win over Ole Miss was just another example of that.
Was it filled with Sportscenter top 10 moments? No.
Did we get restless and anxiety rise? No.
Did we all cheer, smile, and enjoy watching game No. 30 with this team? Absolutely.
We don’t want a wild rapid finish to the season because this easy-going lazy river current allows us to enjoy every moment with this Wildcat team.
Still, there were some quick takeaways from the victory.