Editor’s Note: Really an insightful story by Keith Taylor into just what makes Patrick Patterson special and one I think you will enjoy.
By KEITH TAYLOR
Patrick Patterson noticed something different when Kentucky got down by 18 in the first half of the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 72-70 triumph over Miami Monday night at Rupp Arena.
Although surrounded by a cast of newcomers, including freshman John Wall who made the game-winner in his collegiate debut, Patterson said the Wildcats didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hit the panic button when the RedHawks were on a red-hot streak.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had a mindset of not losing,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wanted to win. Coach (John Calipari) was constantly getting on us. We werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to lose this game. We were going to keep fighting.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And they did. Kentucky used and 18-3 run before the half that narrowed the margin to 39-36. The two teams battled back and forth before Wall rescued the Cats for the first time in his career.
Patterson was especially impressed with the way the freshman class, led by Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins, stepped up under pressure. Patterson said the three players displayed a desire to win instead of giving in to Miami.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Usually younger guys get scared in situations like that when you are down, but they continued to fight and kept battling,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Patterson said WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heroics brought back memories of last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dramatic win over South Carolina. Patterson said he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t surprised by the shot by Wall, who rehearsed similar baskets prior to the contest.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He was doing that in the shoot around (before the game),Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He was the first one out there on the court working on driving to the basket and hitting pull-up jump shots.Ã¢â‚¬Â
During the past two seasons, Patterson has witnessed his share of ups and downs in the same circumstance under a different regime. He watched as the Cats folded when faced with a similar scenario a year ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In previous years we have been in situations like (that),Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had our wins and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had our losses, but this year it feels good to be in a situation like that and come out on top.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said the atmosphere on the bench and on the court helped energize the team and led to the successful comeback.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You could feel the energy from the crowd,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They were yelling and screaming. When we ran a pick and roll and I was trying to scream out to John (Wall) and Eric (Bledsoe), they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even hear me. The crowd definitely got us energized.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Although Patterson admitted he would have preferred an easier contest than the closer-than-expected outcome, he was surprised as Miami made shot after shot from long range. The Redhawks connected on 15 shots from behind the arc, with 10 of those coming in the first half as the guests built a double-digitÃ‚Â lead.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was just frustrated,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be down. Miami just kept making every shot they put up. They went on a long streak of making everything they put up. Ã¢â‚¬Å“
Calipari admitted following the contest that he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind a close encounter and wanted to see how his team would respond while facing adversity.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Cal wanted to see what we were made of when we were down,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wanted to see if we were going to fight or give in this early.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said the close contest and the exciting finish showed Ã¢â‚¬Å“what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re made of.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It shows weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re tough, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll fight and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll battle,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Playing a game like this early in the season will help us in the long run.Ã¢â‚¬Â