WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Patterson's double-double leads Cats past FAU

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Patrick Patterson had 27 points and 14
rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season and Kentucky
held off persistent Florida Atlantic 76-69 Saturday afternoon.
While the post-holiday Kentucky offense hardly resembled the one
that averaged 89 points the previous four games, nor did its
defense give Florida Atlantic many extra chances. The Wildcats
committed a season-low seven turnovers and allowed only seven
second-chance points.
On a day when shooting star Jodie Meeks wasn't connecting from
long range, Patterson and to a lesser degree fellow big man Perry
Stevenson off the bench took matters into their own hands
underneath the basket. The Wildcats (10-3) dominated points in the
paint, 48-24.
Patterson, who came into the game with the best shooting
percentage in the Southeastern Conference at 71.1 percent, added to
that by making 12 of 16 shots from the floor and all three free
throws.
After the Owls (4-9) cut the lead to 68-66 on two free throws
with under 3 minutes to go, Patterson scored the next four points
to ice the victory. The seesaw game featured nine ties and 19 lead
changes.
Stevenson chipped in 10 points, all in the second half. Meeks
finished with a quiet 18 points, missing four of six 3-point
attempts.
Kentucky's victory came despite a career-best performance by
Florida Atlantic's senior guard Paul Graham, who led all scorers
with 31 points.
A jumper by Graham with 15 minutes left gave the Owls their
largest lead at 51-46, but Kentucky seemed to awaken from its
post-holiday slumber behind Patterson and Stevenson. They accounted
for eight points in a 10-0 Kentucky run that put the Wildcats ahead
for good.
After Patterson's second-chance layup, Stevenson slammed home
two dunks within 30 seconds. One was set up by a crisp crosscourt
pass from DeAndre Liggins, the other resulting from a fierce block
by Patterson at the other end.
By the time Mike Jarvis could call timeout, the Wildcats led
52-51. They wouldn't stop there, stretching the lead to eight on
Stevenson's layup in traffic with 7 minutes to go.
The first half was an entirely different story. Meeks and
Patterson combined for Kentucky's first 17 points, and no other
Wildcat got on the board until DeAndre Liggins' bucket 10 minutes
in.
Largely outplayed throughout the first half, Kentucky needed a
block at the buzzer to head to the locker room tied at 37.
After starting the season with consecutive losses to VMI and
North Carolina, the Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11. Florida
Atlantic continued its slide, losing for the eighth time in nine
games.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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