All I can say is wow. What a fantastic win! If there was ever a collective moment, when the frustrations of past transgressions were shed, it was in the last 2 seconds of last nights game. Montrez called for the ball and smashed home one of the most massive tomahawk dunks I have ever seen. It looked like he was going to tear the entire building down. He appeared to grab the Memphis game, and all the negativity it had carried, and slammed it into oblivion. It felt great.
That was a great win. Don’t let any college basketball pundit tell you differently. You will encounter some fans, (from the team down the road) that might try and tell you that, “SMU is not good”. Don’t you be fooled, this team is for real. Their obliteration of all the other home opponents speaks for itself. This is not the SMU of old, by any stretch of imagination. Not only was their team very talented, but that environment was ripe for the upset. It was full of NFL superstars, from Tony Romo to Troy Aikman. The Dallas Cowboys supreme leader Jerry Jones and if that was not enough star power, the former President George W. Bush were all in attendance. Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us.
The beginning of the game was, quite honestly, as expected. We appeared timid, discombobulated on defense and careless with the ball. They, on the other hand, were hyped, focused and ready to dethrone the defending National Champs. We got down by a bunch, a little too much for comfort, but I had a strong feeling we weren’t going to let this one slip away.
I, like most of us, have been completely enamored with the play and poise of Russ Smith this season. Last night, was one of his finest moments yet. As most of you noticed, something seemed wrong with him in the first half. He just scored four points and seemed like he was trying a bit too hard. What we didn’t know, was that he was very sick. He was later quoted as saying that he had eaten something the night before and it had made him very ill. After the performance in the second half, perhaps he should eat that meal the night before every game. In the second half he shot 6-6 from 3-point range and lets be honest, several of those 3’s were from way beyond the arc. He looked totally “dialed-in” and put the team on his shoulders, sick and all, and carried them to victory. It will be another fond memory from his time here.
Not only was Russ fantastic, but Chris Jones probably played his best game as a Cardinal. During Russ’s struggles in the first half, Chris was a force to be reckoned with. He was knocking down 3’s, hitting jumpers and was pushing the defensive intensity to a level we have not seen much this season. He has a new reason to leave it all on the court. During the Memphis game last weekend, his step-brother was killed and he has spent the majority of this week trying to deal with the tragic news. After the game, he said that he was “dedicating the rest of the season to his brother and thanked the Cardinal Nation for its unending support during this incredibly difficult time”. This season has new purpose now.
In thinking about this game, you can’t say enough about the play of Montrez. The man is a total beast. He calls for the ball, runs the floor and totally dominates the paint. His development over the course of the season has been nothing short of incredible. He truly is a co-captain and one deserving of the responsibility that comes with it. For those of you wondering, his reverse dunk was #1 on ESPN’s top plays last night.
We have one more regular season game and it won’t be easy. UCONN will be looking for revenge, especially because they know it is senior night. Let’s pack the YUM Center and send out the most winningest class in UofL basketball history with a final home victory. Go Cards. L1C4
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