LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Freshman Jodie Meeks scored a career-high
18 points and Ramel Bradley added 15 points and six rebounds to lead Kentucky to a 61-49 victory over instate rival Louisville on Saturday.
The win was Kentucky's third straight over the Cardinals (5-4), who shot just 27 percent from the field and were held to their lowest point total in over three years.
Louisville came in averaging 77.5 points a game, but struggled to find any rhythm against the quickly improving Wildcats (7-3), who have won three straight. David Padgett led Louisville with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but had little help. The Cardinals were just 3-of-24 shots from 3-point range and went scoreless for nearly six minutes late in the second half.
Brandon Jenkins gave the Cardinals a 41-40 lead with 10:43 to play, but then Meeks took over. Meeks, whose previous season high was 13 points against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 17, knocked down consecutive 3-pointers, then made three free throws to put the Wildcats up 49-41.
The Cardinals got within 49-45 on a putback by Andre McGee with 3:59 to play - Louisville's first basket in nearly seven minutes - but Sheray Thomas hit a jumper to put the Wildcats up by six and Louisville would get no closer.
The matchup between Kentucky senior center Randolph Morris and Louisville freshman center Derrick Caracter never materialized. Both battled foul trouble and were non-factors. Morris finished with two points and three rebounds in 15 minutes, while Caracter went scoreless in eight minutes before fouling out.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)