Okay, so it wasn't the Berlin Wall coming down. But for fans, it might has well been. For 39 years, 53 points punctuated immortality for the pride of Batavia, Illinois , one Dan Paul Issel.
Issel set the school scoring record against Ole Miss on February 7, 1970. Also ’s all-time scoring leader for men, Issel generally is regarded the best to ever don the blue and white.
On Tuesday night, in front of a sold out Thompson-Boling Arena crowd, Wildcat guard Jodie Meeks toppled the Horse from the single-game scoring list. Meeks tossed in 54 points against Tennessee in one of the most remarkable performances I, or anyone who was watching, has ever seen. Certainly, it was one of the greatest games any Wildcat has ever played.
What could be more fun than having a front row seat to Big Blue history?
Meeks also set the school record for most 3’s (10) and broke Chris Jackson’s (LSU) arena record of 49 points scored.
Billy Gillispie said he’d never seen anything like it. UK’s second-year coach noted that his team had just one double-figure scorer and still won by 18 on the road. “I doubt that’s ever happened. It was an incredible performance.”
Meek’s night included a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line and he also pulled down eight rebounds. He also dished out four assists in 39 minutes of play.
Meeks came out of the game twice – once for only 8 seconds, as Gillispie tried to rest his star guard down the stretch.
Meeks comparison to other programs
How does Meeks’ 54-point outburst stack up against some of the other storied basketball programs? Lew Alcindor holds the UCLA record with 61 points. Wilt Chamberlain scored 52 one night for Kansas . At North Carolina , Bob Lewis holds the school record with 49 points. Down the road at Duke, Danny Ferry had a 58-point outing for the Blue Devils.
Miller, Porter step up
Lost in Meeks’ incredible night was the play of Darius Miller and Michael Porter. Miller scored seven points, and was steady throughout, despite a couple of bad inbounds passes that were stolen. After struggling with his shooting, Miller knocked in half of his six field goal attempts and played solid defense on UT’s Tyler Smith.
Porter continued his heady play, despite feeling ill. Porter continually dribbled the Cats out of trouble and broke Tennessee ’s pressure defense.
Liggins rides the pine
The DeAndre Liggins saga continues. If ever there was a game that suited his style of play, UK vs. UT was it. All out, full court, press til you puke seems to fit his game.
But Liggins didn't get up off the bench on Tuesday night in Knoxville. Rumor had it Liggins walked out of a practice. When asked about it after the game, Billy Gillispie would only say, "Let's talk about the good stuff. Let's not focus on the bad."
Hmmm... no word officially on what's going on.
Those are the highlights... and on Tuesday night there were plenty for Jodie Meeks. Stay tuned.