Terrific effort by Alabama today on their home court. They played hard and sometimes very well, and validated every one of my fears about them. Unfortunately, as is their wont, they turned the ball over to Kentucky at critical times and struggled shooting from the floor. In the end, the 'Cats were just too much in a defensive struggle for the Tide, who, like Kentucky, are struggling a bit with point guard issues.
I am greatly concerned about the status of Ramon Harris, who apparently collapsed in the locker room during half time and had to be taken to the hospital. I hope it was nothing serious, but I am very concerned. I would appreciate anyone who comes up with solid information about his status would pass it along to us immediately. Ramon Harris is absolutely one of my favorite players, and even if he wasn't, he is one of our own. We at A Sea of Blue offer our prayers for his health and family, and that his troubles are minor.
This was a tough, gritty road win for Kentucky. It did not look pretty, and we committed our fair share of boneheaded mistakes, but the effort and toughness this team showed on the road is just wonderful. This Alabama team has issues, but their talent and potential are undeniable. I consider us fortunate to escape with the tough victory.
But you make your own luck, and Kentucky made plenty for themselves today. Whether it was the sometimes brilliant play of DeAndre Liggins on both ends of the floor, or Perry Stevenson's tough rebounding, or Jodie Meeks' floor burns, it was the kind of all-out effort that should warm the cockles of every Kentucky fan's heart. This was just a case of UK wanting it more, and as often as we have been the victim of the superior desire of another team over the last few years, it was a hear-warming and stirring sight.
Here are my observations:
- How monstrous of a performance was this by Perry Stevenson? This kid may be as light as a feather, but inside that slight body beats the heat of a lion and the soul of a poet. 16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and several blocks. A Pattersonesque line on a day when Patterson was not at his best.
- Michael Porter looked a mess today. Never have I seen him less confident, missing no less than three layups and just generally looking overmatched. His line wasn't too bad, though, so it's hard to be too critical. His game just really looked ugly today.
- Patrick Patterson was never really in this game, but he did have a couple of blocks, five rebounds and six points. Somehow, the team just could not get him involved. But he did run the floor like a deer and made some plays.
- DeAndre Liggins was terrific, especially defensively. He turned the ball over, as is his wont, but at least two of those should go on someone else. 11 points and 3 assists when assists were hard to come by. His three pointer in the second half was huge.
- I can't say enough about Darius Miller today. No, he didn't score, but he was a terror on defense and made two beautiful assists and had a team high 3 blocked shots. He played hard defensively and had seven big rebounds, two offensive.
- Jodie Meeks was, well, Jodie Meeks. 27 points on 10-18 shooting, and 9 gigantic rebounds to go with three steals, two of which lead to easy baskets.
- Josh Harrellson was absolutely unable to do much of anything, but he did do one very important thing just before he went out -- made a heady play to bounce a ball off an opponent as he was going out of bounds to preserve the possession, on which we ultimately scored.
- How focused was this team to come from behind on a hostile floor with the status, the very life of one of their teammates in doubt? That's truly amazing, and speaks volumes about how intense they are. A reflection of their coach, I would say.
This was one of the best wins we have had this year, especially on the road against a determined and talented foe. I am very happy with what I saw on the court, even as I am very deeply concerned about the events taking place in an Alabama hospital.
Congratulations to the Wildcats. Prayers for Ramon.