LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Patrick Patterson set a career-high with 28 points to lead Kentucky to an easy 91-57 win over Longwood on Monday night.
Patterson, seven months removed from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle, added 12 rebounds and a career-high six assists for Kentucky (2-2), which needed just nine minutes to build a 24-point lead in winning its second straight.
Jodie Meeks added 17 points, Josh Harrellson scored 12 and Ramon Harris had nine points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot 52 percent from the field and outrebounded the Lancers 50-33.
Ryan Bogan led Longwood (3-3) with 20 points, including six 3-pointers, and Dana Smith had 18 points and six rebounds for the Lancers. Longwood, however, never threatened to join VMI and Gardner-Webb as lightly regarded opponents who stunned the Wildcats on their home floor.
Patterson made sure of that even though he played a portion of the first half with cotton stuffed in his right nostril after getting a nosebleed.
Patterson's aggressiveness was a marked departure from his somewhat tentative play at times during Kentucky's first three games as he slowly working his way back into shape after a lengthy layoff following surgery.
Judging by the way he played against the Lancers, particularly during his 22-point outburst in the first half, Patterson's rehab may almost be over.
Using his size to create plenty of room on the block, Patterson had little trouble getting his shot off against whoever Longwood threw at him. He made 12-of-15 field goals, most of them within a foot or two of the basket.
The Wildcats got off to a quick start, scoring the game's first seven points and using their pressure to force the Lancers into careless turnovers which Kentucky turned into easy baskets at the other end.
A putback by Ramon Harris gave Kentucky a 31-7 lead, though Bogan led a mini-rally by knocking down four 3-pointers over the next five minutes to cut the deficit to 38-24. The Wildcats, with more than a little urging by coach Billy Gillispie, ended the half with a 13-0 run to go up 51-24. Longwood never made a serious run in the second half.
Patterson, however, found a way to inject a little drama into the proceedings. He turned his right ankle while scoring his first basket of the second half to tie his career high, and the arena murmured as he gingerly walked to the bench.
After a quick look from the trainer, Patterson returned a couple of minutes later and showed no ill effects while throwing down an alley-oop pass from Perry Stevenson that put the Wildcats up 41 with seven minutes to play.
Still, Kentucky wasn't perfect. Gillispie has been looking for someone to take control at point guard, but neither Michael Porter or freshman DeAndre Liggins did anything to settle the situation.
Porter started but was on the floor for just 38 seconds before getting pulled in favor of Liggins. Porter returned to the floor after a quick chat with Gillispie, but struggled at times to direct the offense.
Kentucky heads west to continue play in the Las Vegas Invitational over the weekend. The Wildcats play Kansas State on Friday and either West Virginia or Iowa on Saturday.