Sitting in section 242, I had a clear view as Nick Calathes stepped up to the line with three free throws on their way. Sitting there I flashed back to the last time I saw this. It was back when Patrick Sparks stepped up and knocked down the same number of shots to beat Louisville in 2004. Both rivalry games ended in Kentucky's favor. Sparks hits three and Calathes misses three.
On a night when Calathes had 33 points and was 11 of 12 at the line, up until that point, it looked as if we were going to be seeing extra time. The shots went up and Calathes had no such luck.
After Jodie Meeks hits an off balance three, Calathes came down and got fouled on his shot to even up the score. Rupp was rocking. It was the loudest I have ever heard it. With this help, the 'Cats walked away with the victory. It was a game of ups and downs and we did not want to go into overtime. Even Meeks thought the game was over running across the court in celebration.
Still, in the end, the 'Cats held on for a 68-65 victory...one that they desperately needed to put this season back on course. After dropping three straight we had to win. A fourth loss in a row and the first ever three game home SEC skid would have been deadly to our tournament hopes.
So in the clutch the 'Cats came through and held it together down the stretch even after the loss of Patrick Patterson with nine minutes left in the game. On this night Kentucky finally got some vindication against Florida and this season. The 'Gators had no Patrick Sparks and with Rupp bearing down on them they had no chance.