This was a very bad day for us Kentucky Wildcat fans. It wasn't just the loss that makes today so tough, so to say, but it is having to witness our Kentucky Wildcats seem to be on a downward spiral, exactly like the Kentucky team that started the season.
After the historical night at Tennessee, in which Jodie Meeks scored 54 points to set a new UK record vs. the Vols, the Cats have been on a steady decline. The Cats have struggled to pull out victories against Auburn and Alabama. As well as laying big fat eggs at Ole Miss, and today against South Carolina.
South Carolina came calling into Rupp Arena in front of 24,000 fans today and Billy Gillispie's Wildcats did not respond. The Wildcats stretched their lead on the Gamecocks to 10 points in the second half, when South Carolina made their run to the finish line.
With about 28 seconds left in the game, Perry Stevenson missed two clutch free throws that would have stretched Kentucky's lead to three points 79-76. Instead, the Gamecocks snagged the rebound from the misses and raced down the floor to call a timeout with 22 seconds left on the clock, with Kentucky leading 77-76.
Devan Downey got the inbounds pass in the back-court after the timeout, and milked the clock to about six seconds left in the game, with Downey's blazing speed, he then drove into the lane and drained a step back jumper from just inside the wing to give South Carolina the lead 78-76.
After Billy Gillispie's timeout, the Wildcats ran their designed inbounds play but quickly called another timeout. This time, the Cats would inbounds the ball to Jodie Meeks. Meeks ran it to half court and threw up a prayer half court shot. Kentucky's prayer, along with all UK fan's prayers, were not answered. Meeks shot almost dropped but it hit the front of the rim as time expired.
South Carolina had not won in Rupp Arena since 1997, until today. The Gamecocks 12 year losing streak in Rupp Arena came to a end.
Zam Fredrick, with 24 points, and Devan Downey, with 23 points, led the Gamecocks in Rupp.
Kentucky's Patrick Patterson lead the Wildcats with 28 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks; but to no avail.
A lot of attention was focused toward Gillispie after the game as well. In the line to shake hands, Gillispie blew off South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn. Horn had to reach out and grab Gillispie's hand as he was already past him. Now tell me, if this a case of poor sportsmanship?
Gillispie had already had a case of poor sportsmanship vs. Ole Miss at halftime when he smarted off to ESPN sideline reporter Jenine Edwards which, already grabbed many Kentucky fans attentions.
Is this becoming a trend for Gillispie?
Gillispie had better get control of this team and himself if the Wildcats want to get out of this downward spiral and make a run for the SEC title.
South Carolina improves to 16-4 overall, and 5-2 SEC. Kentucky falls to 16-6, and 5-2 in SEC play.