Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP) - Jodie Meeks scored 16 of his 27 points in
the second half to lead Kentucky to a 61-51 comeback victory over
Alabama on Saturday.
The Wildcats (16-4, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame a
six-point halftime deficit and the collapse of starting guard Ramon
Harris outside the locker room before the second half started.
Harris was taken to a nearby hospital. There was no immediate
update on his status. He had missed five games with a back and neck
injury sustained in a collision with a teammate on Dec. 3 against
Lamar, but had played significant minutes in the last five games.
Meeks continued his scoring tear to help Kentucky overcome that
and an off game by Patrick Patterson, remaining the league's only
team without an SEC loss. Patterson returned after a long absence
due to foul trouble and quickly hit a pair of baskets to start an
8-0 run and give Kentucky a 55-47 lead with 3:36 left.
Alabama (12-7, 2-3) couldn't come closer than six points after
that and missed 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch.
Perry Stevenson scored 16 points and DeAndre Liggins had 11 for
the Wildcats off the bench.
The Wildcats held Alabama (12-7, 2-3) to 29 percent shooting.
JaMychal Green led the Tide with 15 points, but guards Alonzo Gee
(eight points), Senario Hillman (nine) and Mikhail Torrance (zero)
were a combined 6-of-30 shooting and got few open looks.
Torrance had averaged nearly 23 points over the last three games
since replacing injured point guard Ronald Steele, who announced
Tuesday that he was leaving the team. He missed all eight attempts.
Meeks took care of much of his team's scoring, including 18 of
Kentucky's first 28 points.
The nation's No. 3 scorer, he made 10-of-18 shots and had nine
rebounds. The rest of his team was just 9-of-31. He also made all
but one of the Wildcats' four 3-pointers.
Patterson picked up his fourth foul with 16:24 left, but Alabama
couldn't take advantage of his time on the bench to keep the lead.
Alabama did manage to hold Kentucky to 39 percent shooting, well
below its 51 percent average that ranked No. 2 nationally.
The Wildcats were down 25-19 at the half after both teams hit
less than 31 percent from the floor.
Alabama scored the final five points of the half to match its
biggest lead. Gee scored on a turnaround and after a Kentucky
turnover, he drew a foul from Meeks with 23 seconds left.
That gave the Tide a chance for the final shot. Green passed
outside to Anthony Brock on the left wing, and Brock drilled a
3-pointer at the buzzer.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)