The last time Edgar Sosa had the ball in his hands, with a chance to beat a Billy Gillispie coached team, the 6-foot-1 point guard misfired as time expired in an NCAA Tournament game and his Louisville Cardinals fell to Texas A&M in Rupp Arena in 2007.
Fast forward two years and Sosa made the most of his last-second opportunity on Sunday night, nailing a 30-footer to knock off Gillispie and the Kentucky Wildcats, 74-71.
Sosa’s game-winner came after the Cats had battled back twice from deficits, the last, to tie the game at 71-71 with :23 remaining.
After trailing 38-35 at halftime, the Cats took a 43-42 lead on a Patrick Patterson jumper. Gillispie, jawing that Patterson was fouled on the play, was hit with a technical foul as the teams retreated back down the floor. Louisville promptly went on a 12-0 run over the next 2:36.
With :50 left, UK scored seven unanswered points, all by Jodie Meeks, setting up Sosa’s heroics. Patterson stole an inbounds pass, feeding Meeks for a layup. Meeks finished with a game-high 29 points. Meeks’ bucket brought the Cats to within 71-69.
The Cats again started the game slowly. In the first nine minutes, UK had more turnovers than field goal attempts. UK finished with 14 turnovers in the first half, the most since their 17 miscues against Kansas State.
Louisville’s pressure defense figured to expose UK’s guard play. Gillispie started Kevin Galloway, Michael Porter and Meeks at guards. Porter, the victim of some fans‘ venom, finished without a turnover in 33 minutes of play.
For the Wildcats, they now have nearly a week to get ready for Vanderbilt, ushering in the start of conference play. The Cats and the 'Dores play next Saturday at Rupp. Tip is set for 2:00 p.m.
Kentucky is now 11-4 on the season. Louisville is 9-3.
Kentucky leads the series 26-14. The Wildcats are 10-7 in Louisville against the Cardinals.
Kentucky owns a 120-33 record in Louisville and a 57-18 record in Freedom Hall.
This was the closest UK-UL game since the 2005 contest won by Kentucky 60-58.
Kentucky returns to home action on Saturday, opening SEC play against Vanderbilt. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. with the game being televised on Raycom.
Team game notes
The Wildcats used the starting combination of Kevin Galloway, Michale Porter, Jodie Meeks, Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. Kentucky is 4-1 with that starting five.
UK controlled the opening tip, the 12th time in the first 15 games the Wildcats have won the opening tip.
Ramon Harris was the first sub off the bench for Kentucky. It was the second time this season he was the first Wildcat off the bench.
UK extended its string of 688 consecutive games making a three-pointer.
Kentucky committed 14 first half turnovers, the most since turning the ball over 17 times in the first frame against Kansas State.
The Wildcats trailed 38-35 at the half, the first time UK has trailed at halftime since falling behind 46-26 to Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 6.
Jodie Meeks(28) and Patrick Patterson (22) have each gone for 20 points in the same game three times.
Individual game notes
#21 Perry Stevenson
Perry Stevenson has recorded a block in eight straight games.
Recorded his seventh three-block game this season.
Connected on his second career three-pointer.
#22 Ramon Harris
Logged 23 minutes, the most since playing 39 against Kansas State.
#23 Jodie Meeks
Jodie Meeks has scored in double figures in all 15 games this season. The last time a Wildcat scored in double-figures in 15 straight games was Joe Crawford in the last season.
Meeks is averaging 13.7 points in the first half this season.
Jodie Meeks has hit 27 three-pointers in his last five games.
Meeks has scored in double figures in the first half 11 times this season and including the last five games.
Meeks has connected on multiple three-pointers in nine straight games and has hit a three-pointer in 16 straight games.
Meeks' numbers in Freedom Hall this season are as follows: 22-40 from the field, 12-23 behind the three-point line, 18-19 from the free throw line, six steals and 74 points.
#54 Patrick Patterson
Patterson recorded his ninth double-double of the season and the 15 th of his career. He is now tied for 22 nd on UK's all-time double-double list with Kevin Grevey, Bob Guyette, Ted Deeken and Johnny Cox.
Patterson has scored in double digits in 12 straight games.
Has recorded six 20-point games this season.
Patrick Patterson connected on 22 straight free throws before missing in the second half.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.