LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks were too much for Tennessee State.
Patterson scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Meeks had 32 points and six boards as Kentucky dominated the overmatched Tigers 102-58 on Monday for its fourth straight victory.
Patterson, who entered the game making a remarkable 68 percent of his shots, improved upon that number against Tennessee State. Patterson made 15-of-17 field goals — almost all of them lay-ups or dunks — and hit all three of his free throws for Kentucky (9-3).
Meeks, coming off a 46-point performance in a win over Appalachian State on Saturday, followed it up with a scintillating first half. He outscored the Tigers 27-24 in the first half, the second straight game he’s beaten the competition by his lonesome in the opening 20 minutes.
Gerald Robinson had 25 points for the Tigers (3-7), who shot just 32.2 percent (19 of 59) and struggled to stop Meeks.
Then again, so is everybody else these days.
Meeks’ performance was his fourth 30-point game of the season. He appeared to be on his way to duplicating record-setting performance over Appalachian State before Patterson got hot in the second half.
By then, the Wildcats had things well in hand.
Kentucky opened the game with a 15-0 run as Tennessee State missed its first seven shots. The Wildcats had no such problems.
During one beautifully executed possession, Patterson received the ball in the post, got double-teamed and flipped it out to Michael Porter. Porter shoveled it to Meeks, who hit Darius Miller in the corner. Miller pump-faked and dribbled to the baseline before hitting Kevin Galloway coming down the lane. Galloway dumped it back to a wide-open Patterson for an easy lay-up.
The heady play drew a rousing ovation from the crowd and a smile from coach Billy Gillispie.
Meeks made sure the crowd stayed on its feet. The junior scored 17 points during a scorching four-minute stretch to close the half, knocking down three straight 3-pointers in the process. He finished the half with seven 3s, tying a school record held by Tayshuan Prince and Derrick Miller.
The Wildcats led 59-24 at the break and Meeks quickly knocked down a 3-pointer to pull within one of the school record for 3s in a game, a mark he tied against Appalachian State. He ended up cooling off a bit and finished 10-of-19 from the field, including 8-of-15 3-pointers.
While the Tigers stretched the defense to shut down Meeks, the middle opened up for Patterson. Working hard to create space in the lane, Patterson called for the ball and his teammates — who had been chastised by Gillispie for not looking for their star enough — made sure the sophomore got it.
Patterson did a little bit of everything, adding a couple of assists and two blocks. He finished his night in spectacular fashion, getting out for a breakaway dunk and drawing the foul as Kentucky’s lead ballooned to 94-47. He exited after making the free throw and Meeks soon followed, each of them drawing a standing ovation as they made their way to the bench.
Kentucky forward Ramon Harris did not play after sustaining a back injury in practice on Sunday. Meeks missed three games earlier this month after being hospitalized following a collision with Porter during a victory over Lamar on Dec. 3.