I cannot put into words how disheartening this game was. I had Kentucky fans coming up to me and telling me, "Sorry," on one hand while laughing. I admit wearing my gold yesterday; I expected to get some grief. There were very few Dore fans in Lexington for senior night.
The atmosphere was terrific-- if you were a Kentucky fan. They do it right there (by the way my ticket was $17...hello McGugin? Why sell tickets at $25 when we cannot get people to the games?). The seniors were honored at a wonderful pre-game ceremony that also gave tribute to a high school player who died on the court nearly four years ago, after signing with UK. There was emotion, there was love, and throughout the game, there were "Tubby...Tubby" cheers.
The game, as most Dores fans know by now, was a whitewash. I was embarrassed to be a Vanderbilt fan last night. Let me put some perspective on it... most of it bad.
The start of the second half was the worst I have seen in 20 years of watching Vanderbilt basketball. A freshman...Kelenna Azubuike (he will be a star) outscored the entire Vanderbilt team in the second half, and he only played 11 minutes. Russell looked lost and at one point drove underneath the basket and of course tried to pass out, hitting the backboard...causing a turnover and of course yet another fast break slam dunk for UK.
Martin Schnedlitz (remember him??) entered the game at the 14:37 mark of the second half. Coach Stallings either sat on the bench with a deer-in-the-headlights look or just stood on the court and watched with disbelief. I cannot blame him. Vanderbilt was overmatched and outclassed from the warm-ups, but seriously, should he try to coach? I might be venting, but hell, I am also a season ticket holder and I think we deserve some answers. I didn't see any encouragement for the players or any changes that might have slowed down the Cats.
The game was never really a contest. Corey Smith hit a jumper to tie the game at 2 with 18:57 to go in the first half, but by the first TV timeout it was 17-2. UK dominated the boards. Where was Brian Thornton? 2 points and 3 rebounds? Seriously, that was not pretty.
Matt Freije cannot do it alone; although he did put up several airballs (and the crowd let him know about it), he scored 9 points in about a 1:30 span and nothing more. Russell Lakey, what can you say? He is at best a backup point guard. He was totally outmatched and UK knew it. They would pick him up at half court and Russell just couldn't handle the pressure.
Mario Moore made his first experience at Rupp, and I am sure he didn't enjoy it, going 0-for-9 with several turnovers. Perhaps the only bright spot was Julian Terrell, who had 8 points, 2 rebounds and a blocked shot.
Needless to say I, like I daresay most fans, am disgusted with this team right now. They looked like they gave up. Maybe I am being harsh...where do you assess the blame?
Certainly I can blame myself-- I had high expectation of this team. I thought that we had an outside shot at making the NCAA's, and at the least head back to the NIT with hopes of winning two or three games there. Instead we are 0 for the road, and I do not expect a win in the SEC tourney.
We were embarrassed at home by South Carolina and Arkansas. Will Tennessee do the same on Saturday? I guess to a degree I am thankful that my daughter's play is on Saturday night and I will miss the UT game. I am saddened by what has happened to this season. The Cats torched us and we deserved it.
I still love Vandy and will cheer for them without thought. Last night was trying. I can see why Vanderbilt has never won there.