LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Tennessee found a way to slow down Jodie
It was the rest of the Wildcats that proved to be a problem.
Patrick Patterson returned from an ankle injury to score 19
points and freshman Darius Miller added a career-high 17 points and
six assists as the Wildcats dominated the Volunteers 77-58 on
Saturday, sweeping the season series from the Volunteers to keep
pace atop the crowded SEC East.
"Everybody was doing their part today," Patterson said. "It
was a great team effort. We have confidence that the other guys can
make shots. When they do, it makes it easier for me and Jodie."
Meeks, who had a school-record 54 points in a win at Knoxville
last month, scored 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting. But the Wildcats
(19-8, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) didn't need him to be Superman
Kentucky never trailed and was never threatened for most of the
second half as the Volunteers (16-10, 7-5) struggled by shooting 32
percent from the field (20-for-63), including 4-for-24 3-pointers.
"We didn't play with passion and purpose," said Tennessee
coach Bruce Pearl. "There were times that we quit. I'm not going
to sugarcoat it. I've never been so embarrassed with the way I
coached and the way my team played."
Scotty Hopson led Tennessee with 14 points and J.P Prince added
11 points and six rebounds but couldn't stop the Volunteers from
losing their second straight and placing their NCAA tournament
hopes very much in peril.
"I've never had this issue," Pearl said. "My teams have
played hard and unselfishly. This team does not do either."
After watching Meeks light up the the Volunteers a month ago,
Pearl wasn't about to let it happen again. He left it up to Bobby
Maze and Josh Tabb to keep an eye on the nation's third-leading
It worked. Meeks was never able to get free, as Maze and Tabb
picked him up the second he stepped across halfcourt. Meeks missed
all seven of his 3-point attempts as the Volunteers dared the rest
of the Wildcats to beat them.
Miller, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball as a high school senior last
spring, made all six of his field goal attempts and gave coach
Billy Gillispie a glimpse of the player he signed a year ago.
"That's the Darius we recruited," Gillispie said. "It's great
to have a bust-out game like that."
The Wildcats needed it with Meeks bottled up. Kentucky took
control with a 15-4 run early in the second half, a burst in which
Meeks managed just two points.
Instead, it was the role players like Miller and Porter - who
Gillispie had chastised for being too deferential to Meeks and
Patterson - who finally stepped out of the shadows.
Porter knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the run, Miller
added a 3 and a little runner in the lane as Kentucky took a 48-33
"Coach has really been stressing to make plays and help
(Patterson and Meeks) out," Miller said. "They've been carrying
us pretty much the whole year so we've just got to turn that around
and help them out."
The Wildcats had little trouble spreading it around. Kentucky
finished with 23 assists on 28 field goals, the kind of unselfish
play that is spearheaded by their two stars.
"We can be a great offensive team when we share the ball like
that," Patterson said.
It helps when their big man is healthy. Patterson sat out a win
over Arkansas and a loss to Vanderbilt while nursing a sprained
right ankle. He looked just fine against the Volunteers, making
9-of-12 field goals and providing the kind of stabilizing presence
they sorely missed.
"I felt great today," Patterson said. "It was really hard
watching us play Vandy. Not only does my ankle not hurt anymore,
but my finger is healed. I'm ready to go."
The Volunteers may be to, but in the opposite direction.
Pearl became so agitated during a scramble under the Tennessee
basket he drew a technical foul. Meeks made both free throws and
the Wildcats just kept on going. Miller hit another 3-pointer and
Patterson followed with a layup as Kentucky pushed the lead to
59-38 with 11 minutes to play.
The Volunteers would get no closer than 14 the rest of the way,
as leading scorer Tyler Smith couldn't get going. He finished with
a season-low six points on 1-of-11 shooting.
Smith was hardly the only one who couldn't find the range. Yet
Pearl refused to blame his junior star, instead saying the rest of
the team could use a cold dose of reality.
"Our inability and ineptness to score really hurt us," Pearl
said. "We've got four games left and I think we need to win all of
Former Tennessee star Chris Lofton, a Kentucky native, watched
from the stands in an effort to give the Volunteers a lift. They
could have used him on the floor instead.
KENTUCKY 77, TENNESSEE 58
Smith 1-11 4-6 6, Chism 4-12 1-1 10, Tabb 0-1 2-4 2, Prince 5-8
1-1 11, Hopson 6-14 0-0 14, Woolridge 0-0 0-0 0, Maze 1-7 3-4 6,
Negedu 0-0 0-0 0, Hubert 0-0 0-0 0, Cannington 1-2 0-0 2, Pearl 0-0
0-0 0, Tatum 0-2 0-2 0, Wild 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 2-5 3-3 7,
Childress 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-63 14-21 58.
Harris 1-1 2-2 5, Porter 3-6 0-0 9, Stevenson 3-4 0-0 6, Meeks
4-14 6-6 14, Patterson 9-12 1-2 19, Miller 6-6 2-2 17, Galloway 0-0
0-0 0, Slone 0-0 0-0 0, Krebs 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 1-3 3-4 5, Perry
0-0 0-0 0, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 1-1 0-0 2, Harrellson 0-0 0-0
0. Totals 28-47 14-16 77.
Halftime-Kentucky 31-24. 3-Point Goals-Tennessee 4-24 (Hopson
2-6, Maze 1-4, Chism 1-7, Tabb 0-1, Wild 0-1, Tatum 0-1, Smith
0-4), Kentucky 7-17 (Miller 3-3, Porter 3-6, Harris 1-1, Meeks
0-7). Fouled Out-Stevenson. Rebounds-Tennessee 35 (Chism, Williams
8), Kentucky 28 (Patterson, Stevenson 5). Assists-Tennessee 4
(Smith 2), Kentucky 23 (Miller, Porter 6). Total Fouls-Tennessee
14, Kentucky 18. Technical-Tennessee Bench. A-24,394. h. A-24,394.