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Valiant, but ultimately losing, effort

Can't put into words how hard the Cats played down the stretch.

Patrick Sparks left it all on the floor, seeming to take personally his first-half defensive problems. Finished with 28 points, 3 boards and 5 steals.

Randolph Morris played hard, until he was totally exhausted. 14 points and 5-5 from the line for the big guy.

Bobby Perry showed that if he believes in himself, his senior year could be a special one. Kid put up 45 points and 14 rebounds in two tournament games. Hard to slag on that.

Sheray Thomas stepped up and his a huge three and played crucial minutes.

Rajon Rondo looked great for stretches and generally ran the floor. 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists (only 3 TOs) for the man we hope smartly returns.

Not all good notes -- hell, we lost -- but for this one minute, given that I full anticipated a 20-point loss, being anything but gracious in defeat would be beneath us.

Cats will live to fight another day.

Still didn't see that goaltending, by the way.

Update [2006-3-19 18:42:31 by JL Blue]: Some early post-game comments from a supposedly calm, but stern and concerned Tubby Smith:

"One way or another changes will be made to get the right attitude," Smith said. "We will not go through another season like this one, I promise you that. It's over now, we fought through and got 22 wins after there was a point when we weren't sure we were going to go anywhere.

"Going forward, those players have to understand the standard set at Kentucky. We won't be bending in any way how we have to do things (to reach it). The team, staff, all things will be evaluated as we go forward. Those who want to be a part of something special need to make a special effort to change and improve."