A W is a W: Kentucky Redeems LSU loss and Wins in OT

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It wasn’t pretty or what the fans expected but the University of Kentucky Wildcats won in overtime against LSU, the team who beat them earlier at their place in Baton Rouge. No matter how you spin it a W in the Win Loss column is a win.  No matter if you win by 2o or by a last second heave. These are the kinds of games you need to be in to prepare for the battles March Madness brings.

As fans in Rupp were ready to leave the exits Kentucky down with 2o seconds remaining in regular intermission  showed some fight and pushed the game into overtime with two Andrew Harrison free throws.  The Cats had lost five of six games that have been decided by 5 points or less. But that fortune changed Saturday evening in overtime as James Young’s blocked shot landed into Julius Randle’s hands and Randle put  the game winner in with 3.9 seconds remaining pushing the Cats past LSU 77-76.

The Cats celebrated like they had won the title game. From high fives to even a pile on the floor. The monkey was off their back, finally.  Even the look on Calipari’s face said a million words. It was the first time these Cats had finally won a 40 minute battle and an extra 5 minutes of battle. One that seemed as if doom was aimed at the Cats again.  No matter what anyone says the Cats could have put their heads down as they have before when former Mr. Kentucky Basketball Anthony Hickey drained a 3 pointer over the outstretched hands of Willie Caulie-Stein but they didn’t. Instead the counterpunched and kept playing taking right back to LSU.  Something the Big Blue Nation and Coach Calipari have been looking for all season.

The Cats played a 2-3 zone Saturday to try to slow down Johnny O’Bryant  but no one or nothing could stop O’Bryant. Johnnhy finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds along with Hickey’s 20 points. A top 6 NBA center prospect O’Bryant was going to get his but the Cats needed to slow down everyone else. When it came down to crunch time Randle insisted to guard O’Bryant and Randle forced O’Bryant into a turnover leading the Cats back down the floor. Watching the last minutes of regulation and overtime it looked as if Randle took the role of the team’s vocal leader.  He kept everyone in good spirits when  heads were down and it was only fitting for Randle to make the winning basket.  It’s no secret that Julius won’t be a Wildcat next year and I can only hope Kentucky fans really appreciate not only the kind of player he is but the person he has become with one year in Lexington.

Kentucky was led by Aaron Harrison’s 21 points along with James Young’s 20 and hero Julius Randle poured in 8 points and snagged 15 rebounds in the 77-76 victory.

Kentucky who improved to 21-6 and 11-3 in SEC play is still a team of unknowns. Anyone knows that any team can be beaten on any given night but Kentucky can and has the talent to beat any team in the nation. As March looms Calipari has done one heck of a job with this team. Take this team at what you will being named the pre season favorite and ranked number 1 to a disappointing 21-6 record with losses to top teams with the only bright spot was beating the defending national champions and rivals the Louisville Cardinals. Hopefully this victory will give them confidence to win during crunch time, experience or not. The Wildcats have all the talent in the world with a deep bench and with the parity of college basketball this season this game ultimately helped Kentucky gain strides towards tournament time where every second counts.