Cats defeat Alabama on the road 61-51

Kentucky won a hard fought victory on the road, as they downed the Alabama Crimson Tide 61-51. Alabama coach Mark Gottfried's plan to slow down Jodie Meeks held the UK star to 11 points in the first half, but he still finished above his season average by scoring 16 in the second half. With Patrick Patterson in foul trouble Perry Stevenson came through with 16 points, to go with twelve boards.

Kentucky trailed by six at the half, 25-19. As the Wildcats headed back toward the court for the second half of play forward Ramon Harris collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Coach Gillispie said the team checked on Harris after the game and reported that Harris was alert, but further tests were being run.

After Harris collapsed the Wildcats appeared on the floor, visibibly shaken and concerned for the welfare of their teammate. It also showed in their play as the Wildcats opened the second half with Patrick Patterson unchracteristically blowing a point blank layup, and Meeks committing an unforced turnover.

The Wildcats seemed to settle down when Darius Miller, who started the second half in place of Harris, reeled in a defense board and drove the floor under control. Miller fed Perry Stevenson going to the hoop. Stevenson didn't make the shot, but was fouled and hit both charity tosses. That play seemed to refocus the Cats, and they kept the Crimson Tide within reach for much of he next 9 minutes.

At the 16:37 mark Patterson picked up a personal foul that sent him to the bench for nearly ten minutes of play.

The Wildcats took a brief 33-32 lead on a Meeks steal and Dunk. Alabama's Anthony Brock then hit a three that gave the lead back to the Tide.

Meeks tied the game at 35 eight seconds later. Over the next several minutes the lead would swing back and forth.

The game was tied at 45 when Patrick Patterson re-entered the game. The Cats were sparked when Meeks chased the ball down in backcourt, diving for the ball and scooping it up just as an Alabama player attempted to make the same play. Meeks had the presence to pass the ball quickly to Patterson, who got the ball back to a hustling Meeks. As Meeks drove the ball down the right side of the floor he hit a wide open DeAndre Liggins, standing behind the three point arc on the weak side of the floor. Liggins fed a hustling Patterson for an easy basket to give the Cats a 47-45 lead. The Cats would not trail again as the play began an 8-0 run.

Alabama would draw no closer that six points for the remainder of the game. The last time Alabama was that close was when the Cats were up 55-48 when Patterson collected his fifth foul at the 1:12 mark. Alabama's Justin Knox missed his first attempt, but made the second to pull the Tide to within that six point again at, 55-49.

A Jamychal Green basket following a pair of made charity tosses by Liggins made it a 57-51 game, with 49 seconds remaining. The Tide would not score again.

Stevenson and Liggins combined to hit four of six charity tosses to set the final score.

Meeks was the focal point of the Tide defense, but still scored 27 points. Perry Stevenson had his second double-double of the week scoring sixteen points, pulling down 12 rebounds, while dishing out a team high four assists. Astonishingly Stevenson was credited with only one block, a figure that onlookers would have thought was much higher. Patterson was limited to 27 minutes by the foul trouble, and scored only six points and pulled down five rebounds. Liggins picked up the scoring slack by putting in eleven points in 23 minutes. Darius Miller was scoreless, but did an excellent job on the Tide's Alonzo Gee in the second half defensively, holding Gee scoreless in the half.

Scoring was about the only thing Miller didn't do in his 33 minutes of play, as the youngster from Maysville pulled down seven boards, recorded a pair of assists, had a pair of thefts, and blocked a trio of shots.

The Wildcats improved to 16-4 on the season, and remain perfect in SEC play at 5-0.

The Cats shot only 39% from the field, but held the Tide to 29%. After scoring only 19 points in the first half the Wildats bounced back to score 42 in the second.

The Cats remain on the road as they are set to take on Mississippi in Oxford on Tuesday at 7 PM.

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