Kentucky 79, Arkansas 63

Kentucky junior superstar Jodie Meeks pours in a Bud Walton Arena record 45 points as the Wildcats down the University of Arkansas 79-63 Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.

The likely SEC player of the year - and possibly national player of the year - certainly put forth more evidence for his campaign on Saturday afternoon against the University of Arkansas.

Kentucky junior star Jodie Meeks had 22 of his Bud Walton Arena record 45 points by intermission and the Wildcats went on to down the Razorbacks 79-63 before an announced crowd of 19,021 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

Meeks, averaging 26 point per game in SEC play and 25 overall, was 17-of-24 from the field - including 7-of-12 from 3-point range for Kentucky (18-7, 7-3).

"Meeks had an awesome performance," UA head coach John Pelphrey said. "He's been good all season. We were just another defense left in his wake. He has the ability to almost see through you, to not pay any attention to you and get shots off."

Meeks - who had a Kentucky-record 54 points earlier this season, broke former Razorback Alex Dillard's record of 39 points when his shot was goaltended while being fouled with 3:25 left in the game.

He added a free throw to put his team up 71-55.

"As many great players that Arkansas has had as well as the players that have come through here, it is an honor to break the Bud Walton Arena scoring record," Meeks said.

He dominated a game in which the Wildcats were without inside force Patrick Patterson, who suffered an ankle injury Tuesday night in a home win over Florida.

"I try to approach the game the same way without Patrick being here," Meeks said. "After I hit my third three, I felt like I was really in a rhythm."

Michael Washington and Stefan Welsh both had 14 points, Jason Henry 12 points and 11 rebounds points and rebounds and Rotnei Clarke 12 for the Razorbacks (13-10, 1-9), who have now lost nine straight games in a once highly competitive series.

"They got ahead early," Washington said. "We made a couple of runs, but they hit shots when they needed them. Meeks had a good day and has proven he can do against everybody. We still have opportunties. We just need to capitalize. Our guards did a good job. We just didn't make enough shots."

Michael Sanchez added 8 points for the Razorbacks, who are now 11-4 at home this season. They did cut a 21-point deficit to 11 before the visitors closed the game out.

"Staying ahead was the most important thing we did today," Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie said. "They're a great young team. I've seen them get up on Oklahoma by 25 points and us staying ahead was the most important thing."

The Razorbacks used all nine of their available scholarship players in the loss, but were without indefinitely suspended point guard Courtney Fortson, the likely SEC freshmen of the year.

"I was concerned about being able to run the offense and take care of the basketball (without Fortson)," Pelphrey said. "I thought it was hard for us all night long. We didn't have a lot of turnovers (12), but the turnovers we did have hurt us a lot."

Welsh had the misfortune of having to chase Meeks around and fill in for Fortson at point guard.

"(Meeks) never stops moving," Welsh said. "He's big (6-4, 210) and strong. The more shots he hits, the bigger the baskets he gets. He has a wide body and a quick release. I've been watching him this season just like everybody else has. I knew he was going to be aggressive."

Meeks put on his show before a crowd that included former Razorbacks basketball players Darrell Walker, Charles Balentine, Ronnie Brewer and his dad Ron, Sr., Almer Lee, Gary Ervin and former UA football star Darren McFadden.

There was also a host of junior football prospects in for the game on unofficial visits, including Little Rock Christan star Michael Dyer.

Also on hand visiting officially was Madison (Miss) Central shooting guard Jeremy Adams (6-5, 210) while 6-4 East Poinsett County sophomore Ky Madden was in attendance on an unofficial visit.

It was Arkansas' fourth loss in five home SEC games.

"Any game you lose is tough, especially at home," Clarke said. "We want to defend our home court and we haven't been doing that lately."

Michael Porter and Darius Miller each added 8 points, Ramon Harris 7 and Perry Stevenson 6 for Kentucky, who had a liberal dose of fans in the building on Saturday.

Gillispie's first Kentucky team went through struggles early so he has empathy for former Wildcats star Pelphrey and Arkansas right now.

"This (Arkansas) is a great team," Gillispie said. "They've beaten some great teams and are going through some adversity right now. The crowd here is great and so is the tradition. It was good to pick up a win here."

Clarke's driving lay-up got Arkansas within 13-10 with 13:53, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game.

Meeks went on a 7-0 run by himself and the Wildcats just continued to build their lead throughout the contest.

It crested at 61-40 when Meeks buried his 7th 3-pointer of the game with 10:49 left in the game.

"Jodie Meeks was fantastic," Gillispie said. "...I've never seen anything like he's done for us this year. It's not like we said Jodie shoot it everytime, he just makes things happen."

Arkansas did make a run after that, cutting it to 64-53 on Washington's rebound slam with 5:12 left remaining.

But Meeks scored and Kentucky never led by less than 13 from that point on.

The Wildcats shot 51.9 percent from the field, were 11-of-22 from 3-point range, 12-of-20 from the free throw line, had 16 turnovers and won the board battle 35-30.

Thee Razorbacks were 41.8 percent from the field, just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc, 13-of-22 from the charity stripe and had 12 turnovers.

The Razorbacks will host SEC West leading LSU on Wednesday night.


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