As prophecies go, "The Meeks shall inherit the scoring load" must have had even devout Kentucky fans…
Meeks guns down Vols, Cats win 90-72
The win gives the Cats the signature win that escaped them when Sosa nailed a three in the final seconds against Louisville to top the Cats.
Much has been made of the Cats being a two-man team offensively. On this night they were a one-man team. That man was Jodie Meeks, and what a man he was on this night. Meeks scored when he was heavily guarded, by driving to the hoop for layups. When they played off him he hit threes from everywhere. Jodie hit all fourteen of his charity tosses, he was ten of fifteen on three-point attempts. To top it off he hit five of seven two-point attempts.
Jodie had a stat stuffer's delight night. As Meeks also pulled down 8 rebounds, dished out four assists, played tremendous defense, helped Porter break down the UT press and only committed one turnover in 39 minutes of play.
The UT staff threw everyone at Meeks defensively. As each player stepped up to take his turn at attempting to stop the UK junior each was in turn run ragged, used and abused.
The Cats shot 56% from the field, while holding the Volunteers to 38%. UK was 12-19 from behind the arc for the game; while UT was 6 of 23. Most of the damage from behind the arc was done by the UT frontcourt as Brian Williams and Tyler Smith hit half of those.
The Cats improved their sterling team free throw percentage, as the hit 18 of their 20 attempts.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 39-32, behind 12 boards by Patrick Patterson.
Meeks was the only double figure scorer for the Cats, but the remaining scoring was spread out well for the Cats. Patterson scored nine, just missing out on another double-double. Freshman Darius Miller and junior Ramon Harris each put in seven, combining to hit six of nine shots from the wing forward position. An ill Michael Porter put in five points for the Cats. Junior Kevin Galloway scored a bucket, and A.J. Stewart played, but failed to score.
Kentucky dished out 16 assists, led by Michael Porter's six, to the nine assists for the Vols.
Tyler Smith led the Vols with 19 points, Wayne Chism scored 18, and Bobby Maze tossed in 11.
In a matchup of class of 2008 Kentucky high school seniors UK's Miller, Kentucky's 2008 Mr. Basketball, came out on top of McDonald's All American Scotty Hopson. Miller scored seven points, on 3-6 shooting, while Hopson scored five points on 1-6 shooting. Miller was very active defensively, while Hopson's court presence was minimal outside of hitting a crucial three for the Vols during a first half run.
Kentucky is 13-4 overall, and sits atop the SEC East at 2-0. The Cats travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday.
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