NASHVILLE — The wildest game of Kentucky’s season will be reborn in the form of Sunday’s SEC tournament championship.
It’s been roughly three weeks since the Wildcats fell to Texas A&M in an overtime thriller that featured an untimely technical foul and a buzzer beating layup.
Sitting in Kentucky’s locker room after a 93-80 win over Georgia on Saturday, Isaac Humphries looked back on the single worst moment of his Wildcats career: A split second of pure joy that made him spike the basketball into the hardwood and effectively lose a crucial conference game.
“It’s just an opportunity to redeem ourselves for that,” Humphries said of Sunday’s rematch. “Unfortunately, that happened, but we get another opportunity to go out and win it.”
The 7-footer Australian said it took him “24 hours” to get over his mistake; one that wound up costing Kentucky an outright SEC championship and the No. 1 seed in this tournament.
“He kept apologizing, apologizing,” guard Tyler Ulis said. “But he realized nobody was mad at him … Everybody saw him trying to stop himself from throwing the ball, but it happened, and we’re past it.”
Ulis said the Wildcats are motivated to pick up a win they thought they had secured last month.
Fellow guard Jamal Murray was brimming with confidence when asked about the forthcoming matchup.
“We’re deeper this time,” he said. “We’re gonna have some new sets they haven’t seen yet. I think we’re a more confident team. Before, we were just trying to get through the games and hopefully come up with a win. But now we’re playing with more aggression. More determination.”
The key could be senior Alex Poythress, who sat out the teams’ first meeting with a right knee injury.
Poythress hit four 3-pointers in Friday’s win over Alabama before returning to the post for a 10-point performance against Georgia.
“He’s a problem for the (opposing) team,” Murray said. “And he’s a guy that you don’t know what you’re gonna get; whether he’s gonna shoot the ball well, or he’s gonna go to the post and just dunk everything.”
Humphries (0-for-1, one rebound) played a few minutes for Kentucky on Saturday, and might have an opportunity to face Texas A&M on the court again Sunday.
Don’t ask him for a scouting report on the Aggies, though; he’s apparently blocked out last month’s game.
“I can’t remember,” Humphries said. “Sorry.”
Kentucky-Texas A&M tips off at 1 p.m. ET Sunday (ESPN).