LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Patrick Patterson had 23 points and No. 2
Kentucky avenged its only loss this season with an 82-61 victory
over South Carolina on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (27-1, 12-1) need just one more victory or a
Vanderbilt loss to clinch at least a share of their 44th
Southeastern Conference championship. Vanderbilt beat Georgia 96-94
in overtime Thursday, delaying the Kentucky celebration for at
least another game.
Like its last meeting with Kentucky a month ago, South Carolina
(14-13, 5-8) proved a pesky opponent until near the end. However,
Kentucky had too much offensive firepower, and its defense gave up
26 points to the SEC's leading scorer, Devan Downey, but little
South Carolina never led, and every time it started to chip
away, the Wildcats had an answer and usually it was from Patterson.
He scored the first points of the game on a 3-pointer and didn't
Kentucky had a 15-point lead early in the second half, but twice
Patterson responded when the Gamecocks cut it to six - first with a
dunk, then a three-point play. South Carolina got no closer.
The veteran forward has often been overshadowed this year by
star freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, but
this was Patterson's night to be clutch.
Behind Patterson and eyeing payback, Kentucky was psyched in
this one from the opening tip.
Sam Muldrow's dunk midway through the first half cut the early
Kentucky lead to 23-21, but the Gamecocks would score just five
more points before halftime. Three came on a long heave from Downey
at the buzzer, making it 37-26.
Other than that, Kentucky closed the half on a 14-2 run,
punctuated by a putback from DeAndre Liggins off a miss by Wall and
a bank shot by Bledsoe.
Downey, who scored 30 points in the previous meeting in
Columbia, shot for an even higher percentage in this one, going 9
of 25, but the team made fewer than 40 percent of its shots and
only four of 20 3-point attempts.
Although South Carolina kept the game close early, that was when
the Wildcats turned in some of their most acrobatic plays.
Cousins followed Patterson's opening 3 with a driving layup,
drawing a foul in the process. He missed the free throw but got his
own rebound and scored again. Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds
to increase his UK freshman record for double-doubles to 17.
Then came Kentucky's nightly showstopper, Wall, who grabbed a
steal and sprinted the other way, finishing with a reverse layup,
not even looking at the basket in the process.
Those plays gave Kentucky an early 11-2 lead. South Carolina cut
it to 16-15 after consecutive baskets by Downey and a reverse layup
by Lakeem Jackson, but Kentucky got some cushion in a hurry thanks
First, he used two hands on a thundering dunk, then just needed
one the next time down court, slamming home an alley-oop pass from
In the last game against South Carolina, Kentucky had just
claimed the No. 1 spot in the polls and even got a pregame pep talk
from President Barack Obama, who called to thanks the Wildcats for
a fundraising effort to benefit earthquake victims in Haiti.
There was no such hoopla around this one, although Hall of Famer
Magic Johnson was among those in attendance and got roars from the
Rupp Arena crowd when he was introduced.
No. 2 KENTUCKY 82, SOUTH CAROLINA 61
SOUTH CAROLINA (14-13)
Jackson 8-11 0-1 16, Jefferson 2-3 0-1 4, Muldrow 5-11 0-0 10, Downey 9-25 5-5 26, Raley-Ross 2-11 0-0 5, Spinella 0-4 0-0 0, Galloway 0-1 0-0 0, Steed 0-0 0-0 0, Baniulis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-67 5-7 61.
Cousins 7-13 5-8 19, Patterson 10-12 2-3 23, Miller 2-6 2-3 7, Wall 4-15 4-4 12, Bledsoe 4-8 0-0 8, Dodson 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Krebs 0-0 0-0 0, Orton 2-4 2-2 6, Liggins 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 32-64 15-20 82.
Halftime-Kentucky 37-26. 3-Point Goals-South Carolina 4-20 (Downey 3-9, Raley-Ross 1-6, Muldrow 0-1, Baniulis 0-1, Spinella 0-3), Kentucky 3-11 (Patterson 1-1, Miller 1-2, Liggins 1-2, Dodson 0-1, Bledsoe 0-2, Wall 0-3). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-South Carolina 31 (Muldrow 8), Kentucky 47 (Cousins 11). Assists-South Carolina 10 (Downey 5), Kentucky 12 (Wall 4). Total Fouls-South Carolina 14, Kentucky 10. A-24,355.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 82, South Carolina 61
Team Records and Series Notes
• Kentucky is 27-1, 12-1 in the Southeastern Conference and has won eight in a row.
• South Carolina is 14-13 overall, 5-8 in league action.
• Kentucky leads the series, 42-10, ending South Carolina’s three-game win streak against the Wildcats. UK leads the series 22-2 in games played in Lexington.
• Kentucky is in the midst of four road games in a five-game stretch. The Wildcats play at Tennessee on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised by CBS.
• Kentucky used the starting lineup of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins for the second-consecutive game and 20th time this season.
• Patrick Patterson scored the game’s first basket with a three-pointer at 19:23. That also extended UK’s streak of 739 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer.
• Kentucky jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed in the game.
• USC rallied within 16-15 and 23-21 before Kentucky closed the half with a 14-5 run.
• Kentucky led at halftime, 37-26.
• Kentucky opened the second half with a 5-0 spurt to increase the lead to 42-26, UK’s largest advantage of the game.
• Devan Downey, who had a game-high 26 points, sparked a South Carolina comeback. The Gamecocks pulled as close as six on three occasions, 48-42, 50-44 and 52-46.
• South Carolina was still within 10 points at 69-59 on a Downey three-pointer with 2:52 remaining, but the Wildcats took control and scored the next 13 points to clinch the victory.
• With drives to the basket and the play of Cousins and Patterson, UK dominated points in the paint, 56-30.
• After getting outrebounded in Columbia, UK led tonight’s battle of the boards, 47-31.
• Kentucky’s bench outscored the Gamecocks reserves, 13-0.
• UK shot 50 percent from the field (32 of 64). It was the 13th game this season that the Wildcats made at least half their shots, the fourth time in SEC play.
• John Wall had 12 points, including four foul shots, and had four assists.
o Wall broke the UK freshman season record for free throws made with 133. The old record was 131 by Dwight Anderson in the 1978-79 season.
o Wall has 450 points this season and moved past Sam Bowie (440, 1979-80) for third place on the UK freshman season scoring list.
o Wall extended his UK freshman season assist record to 167.
• Patrick Patterson had a season-high 23 points.
o Patterson moved past Joe Crawford for 19th place on the UK career scoring list and has 1,442 points as a Wildcat.
o Patterson had a season-high four blocked shots tonight, his most since eight rejections vs. Georgia on March 4, 2009.
• DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds.
o It is his 17th double-double of the season.
o Cousins broke the UK freshman season rebounding record with 285 boards. The old record was 277 boards by Chris Mills in the 1988-89 season.