By LARRY VAUGHT
ARLINGTON — Kentucky freshman guard Andrew Harrison wasn’t worried about statistics or legacies after UK lost to Connecticut 60-54 Monday night in the national championship game.
Instead, he was trying to deal with being so close to a championship with teammates he said he “loved” and not quite completing the remarkable postseason run.
“We had so much fun together and during this run. We were all so nervous starting out tonight. You try to say this is like every other game, but it was not,” said Harrison after the game. “We had a great year. A better year than some thought, maybe not as good as some thought we should. But we never gave up and we never quit believing in each other.
“I know we could have played better than we did tonight, but we didn’t. That’s going to happen. I am sure we will all think of things we could have done or should have done. That certainly includes me, but I loved being on this team.”
Here’s more of what Harrison had to say after Monday night’s game.
Question: Does the championship game loss overshadow the overall season for you?
Harrison: “No, definitely not. We realize that it was the national championship game, but it is more important to remember what we fought through.”
Question: How will you remember this season?
Harrison: “The time of my life. I was happy to be on the team. The fact that we lost on free throws is probably the worst thing.”
Question: Do you think if UK could have ever got the lead there might have been a different ending?
Harrison: “I hope so, but you don’t know. Yeah, it was tough to get stops on them. They were making crazy shots on us.”
Question: What do you say to UK fans?
Harrison: “They are great, the best fans in the world. I am sorry we didn’t pull this out for them. We wanted to.”
Question: When do you decide about the NBA or coming back to Kentucky?
Harrison: “I haven’t even thought about it. I am just focused on this game right now.”
Question: What did coach John Calipari say to the team after the game?
Harrison: “Just that he was proud of us and we had gone through a lot and it was amazing what we did. We are going to try and keep our heads up, but it was national championship game and it hurts. But we overcame so much stuff that was even bigger than that game.”
Question: How did UConn get off to a 30-15 lead?
Harrison: “We were just nervous in the national championship game. I wasn’t making play I usually make and we missed some free throws. It was nerves.”
Question: What was it like to get so close to title and not winning?
Harrison: “Just the obstacles we had been through all year was bigger than the game.”
Question: How hard was it walking off and watching UConn celebrate the championship?
Harrison: “It was tough. We felt like we were the better team but they made some unbelievable shots. It’s hard knowing we don’t have another game and it’s over. But at the same time we can walk around with our heads up high and know we gave it our all this year.”
Question: Does it make it harder knowing this group will never be together again?
Harrison: “I am not sure how to answer that question. I have not thought about it really.”
Question: What did UK prove during this tournament run?
Harrison: “That we are as good as everybody thought. It just took a while to put it together.”
Question: What will you remember most about this season?
Harrison: “Just this run we had. Being able to get through all the stuff we have been through. It is really a remarkable story and I think it was a little bigger than this game. This one hurt us, though. We really wanted it.”
Question: How much does it hurt?
Harrison: “I really can’t explain. We thought we had them. They made some tough shots. We were a little anxious to get out there before we settled down.”