This is now the fourth time I've had the opportunity to write about the Cats losing a game this season and it doesn't get any more fun as I continue doing it. What's worse is that this one was one that I had full anticipation the Cats would and should end up winning going into today. Yet again though the Cats' youth showed through leaving them to make a few poor plays throughout the game. Despite this there was marked improvement in the second half almost allowing them to claw back a victory.
The Cats came out looking strong in the first couple possessions of the game but then they lost the wheels and Notre Dame started a run supported by a couple completely uncontested three point baskets. That would only continue while the Cats struggled to get more than 5 points added to their score. By the end of the first half the Fighting Irish had a 48-26 lead to go into the second half of the game.
The Cats came out like a different team in the second half. Between offering up a much more stressful defense and actually nailing down some of their shots they were able to put up a 14 point run bringing the game to within 6 with over 8 minutes left in the game. They then showed a bit of youth by giving up an easy three to Notre Dame followed by a poor offensive decision but the fight was still there. The Cats brought the score to within 1 with a little under a minute and a half left in the game. They even had chance to win in the final moments with a decent jumper from Sarr that wasn't able to fall. The ball came off for a put back yet only seconds too late to count .
|Kentucky Wildcats - 63||Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 64|
I said I was down because I expected a win in this one but that doesn't mean this game didn't give me a lot of things to look forward to . The Cats really showed strong improvement in areas where the team needed it sorely. One thing in particular was turnovers. After giving up the ball 21 times against Georgia Tech brining that number down to 11 is a marked improvement.
We also seen that Olivier Sarr can be a boss! He took over the start of the game and made a few key jumpers throughout showing his versatility as a big man. That all combined to give him a 22 point game today along with 7 boards. He's one guy this team can rally around in my opinion. We also seen solid contributions across the board through it wasn't enough and the Cats will need to find ways to get better.
The Cats have plenty of time to think about this one. They won't play again until next Saturday when they will travel to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland to take on the UCLA Bruins as part of the CBS Sports Classic. That game will now tip off at 2 pm EST and as you might imagine will be viewable on CBS.