Well, that was my stab at a feel-good postgame narrative for this game. But we all know how hard it is to make merry after almost losing to Depaul at home, even with injuries depleting our roster. Suffice it to say we'll have to play a lot better when we head to South Bend on Wednesday. If past is prologue, it'll be us against Planet Ireland again.
Still, there were good things we saw tonight and can rally around, even if they didn't crystallize into the type of dominant performance for which we were hoping. Kyle Kuric padded some mega-sweet offensive numbers to lead the Cards -- 19 points on 6-9 shooting including 3 three-pointers. That we've come to expect that type of shooting performance out of Kyle 1 out of every 3 games or so shows how far he's come from last season, when 22 points against Syracuse represented a miracle. These days, 18 or so points is pretty standard fare, even when every single basket comes out of that left corner.
Peyton Siva played one of his better point guard games, dishing out 8 assists and turning over the ball only once. He still make you scratch you head sometimes -- why shoot that three toward the end with a full shot clock? -- but his highlight reel of passing tonight was spectacular. Also, the sight of him hobbling off the court after the game might have sounded alarm bells, but it scores just how hard he's going at it out there, playing through pain, trying to lead. Just an image that's staying with me at the moment.
(Of course, if every sign of injury translated into leadership points, this team could conduct a training seminar. And Gorgui Dieng would give the lecture on "create your own rules." Coming to an office park near you)
Chris Smith, who has been fighting major funk as of late, scored 10 points on 3-6 shooting, including 2-4 from beyond the arc. So that's good.
Maybe the most encouraging factor to take from this game is that the Terrence Jennings renaissance continues. TJ was good tonight for 10 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks. His is the best mid-season redemption story that I can recall since T-Will figured out how to dominate without scoring midway through his junior year. Rumble young men, rumble.
Here are the stats. A win's a win, right? Even against Depaul. So go Cards.