Meeks Leads Offensive Spark Over Mississippi Valley State

Dec. 7, 2008

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)Jodie Meeks had 24 points and Patrick Patterson added 21 as Kentucky rebounded from its sluggish shooting a day earlier with a 88-65 blowout over Mississippi Valley State on Sunday.

Kentucky (6-3) made 54 percent of its shots and held the Delta Devils (0-10) to 34 percent.

Nobody had more of a resurgence than Meeks, who missed 10 of 12 3-point attempts Saturday in Kentucky's loss to No. 21 Miami. His shooting returned in a hurry as he made 8 of 12 shots from the floor and scored half of his points from long-range.

Kentucky led 42-36 with 18 minutes left in the game after a 3-pointer by MVSU's Shannon Behling, but then the Wildcats went on a 17-1 run to erase any doubt.

Although a blowout over the winless Delta Devils wasn't a huge surprise, the way in which Kentucky dismantled the lesser competition helped lighten the blow from a cold-shooting loss the day before.

In that game, the Wildcats made only 2 of 25 attempts from 3-point range. They topped that total in the first five minutes of this one en route to a 7-for-18 performance from beyond the arc.

But it wasn't just Meeks' jump shots that were clicking for Kentucky. The Wildcats consistently got the ball inside to their big man, Patrick Patterson, who had his sixth double-double of the year, with 10 rebounds to go along with his 21 points. Perry Stevenson had a game-high 12 rebounds.

During one play in the Wildcats' second half run, freshman DeAndre Liggins – a fan favorite to become the team's starting point guard – hit Patterson with a crisp pass through several defenders, setting up the easy bucket.

Liggins led the team with five assists to go along with his 10 points.

The Wildcats wore black uniforms with the name Keightley on the back, a tribute to their longtime equipment manager Bill Keightley who died of a brain tumor this year. At halftime, a Keightley uniform bearing the number 48 – representing the 48 years the man affectionately known as "Mr. Wildcat" spent on the Kentucky bench – was lifted to the Rupp Arena rafters.

The winless Delta Devils were a pesky opponent to the far more physical Wildcats throughout the first half. A 3-pointer by Shannon Behling pulled the Delta Devils to within 30-28 with three minutes to go before halftime. Behling led the Delta Devils with 20 points and 7 rebounds.

Kentucky quickly padded the lead by scoring the next nine points, seven by Meeks within the span of 30 seconds. After sinking two free throws, Meeks scored from the lane off a steal, then hit his second 3-pointer to put the Wildcats up by 11.

Another 3-pointer by Behling with seconds to go in the first half cut Kentucky's lead to 39-31 at the break.

Playing for the second time in 24 hours, this time against an outmatched opponent, coach Billy Gillispie was able to divvy up the playing time, with 14 Wildcats seeing action.

Junior college transfer Kevin Galloway made the first start of his Kentucky career, and freshman Landon Slone saw his first significant playing time and first points – two 3-pointers in the first half.