Eric Bledsoe had never cried after any basketball game — until Saturday night.
So while West Virginia’s John Flowers was standing on the scorer’s table at the Carrier Dome doing his own version of the John Wall dance to celebrate his team’s win over Kentucky, Bledsoe was in the Wildcats’ dressing room crying.
“We had a great season, but it’s sad to let it all go to waste,” Bledsoe said. “It hurt to put all the effort we did into this season and then lose this way.
“They outplayed us. They played harder. That’s the first time I have ever cried. It’s the last time we will all be together and I wanted to win the national championship so much. I’m in shock.”
Bledsoe blamed himself for a big part of the Cats’ 73-66 loss. He got his second foul less than seven minutes into the first half and left with UK leading 13-6. After that, the Mountaineers took control of the game. He got his third and fourth fouls six minutes into the second half and went to the bench again.
He ended up playing only 25 minutes and to complicate that, he also went 0 for 5 from 3-point range. He finished the game with seen points, three rebounds and two assists.
His first two fouls came when he tried to fight through West Virginia screens.
“I was just trying to stop the cutter, and the ref called fouls,” Bledsoe said.
Kentucky missed its first 20 3-point shots and finished the game 4 for 32.
“Everybody is not always going to have a great night shooting, but we didn’t seem to keep our focus and calm down when shots were missing,” he said. “We got caught in the moment and lost our composure. We felt like we would get a lot of good 3s, but you have to make them. That’s my job and I didn’t.”
He also thought his absence impacted guard John Wall.
“John needed me there to help. He got tired in the first half and got frustrated. That’s my fault for not being there,” Bledsoe said. “We play so good off each other and I wasn’t out there. I messed up.”