Scores

Final

Kentucky 90

(13-4, 2-0 SEC)

(24) Tennessee 72

(10-5, 1-1 SEC)

9:00 PM ET, January 13, 2009

Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee

1 2 T
UK 41 4990
#24TENN 37 3572

Top Performers

Kentucky: J. Meeks 54 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Tennessee: W. Chism 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

Kentucky downs Tennessee behind Meeks' 54 points

ESPN.com news services

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jodie Meeks was just trying to get a victory. He didn't fathom having a chance at earning a spot among Kentucky's greatest players.

Meeks scored a school-record 54 points to help Kentucky cruise to a 90-72 win over Tennessee on Tuesday night.

UK Single-Game Scoring Mark

Dan Issel had one of the great seasons in Kentucky history in 1969-70. Jodie Meeks is rivaling that after breaking his single-
game scoring record on Tuesday.

Player
Points
Season
Jodie Meeks 54 2008-09
Dan Issel 53 1969-70
Dan Issel 51 1969-70
Cliff Hagan 51 1953-54
Bob Burrow 50 1955-56
Dan Issel 47 1969-70
Jodie Meeks 46 2008-09
Dan Issel 44 1969-70

"It means a lot to be in the same sentence as Dan Issel. It's mind-
boggling," he said. "I was just out there playing to win."

Meeks, who broke Issel's 39-year-old record of 53 points set at Mississippi, was mobbed by his Kentucky teammates in the middle of the Thompson-Boling Arena court, where the Wildcats (13-4, 2-0 SEC) handed the Volunteers their third loss in January.

The Southeastern Conference's leading scorer surpassed his previous high of 46 points, which he set Dec. 20 against Appalachian State, with 4:50 left as he hit an open 3, one of 10 3-pointers he would make for the night. He set the record with free throws with 1:31 left.

Interviewed Wednesday morning on ESPN First Take, Meeks said he hadn't spoken yet to Issel but did receive a voice message from the Kentucky great.

"He left congratulations and said he'd be pulling for me all season," said Meeks, adding that congratulatory text and voice messages he's received have exceeded 200.

Meeks entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring with an average 24.2 points per game.

"I have never seen anything like it," Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. "Jodie Meeks had 46 against Appalachian State, and they are a nice team, but not near a team the quality of Tennessee and on the home court."

The 54 points was also the biggest individual SEC performance since Chris Jackson's 55 for LSU against Mississippi in 1989.

"There have been so many great players -- this is the greatest basketball tradition in the world at the collegiate level -- and to be able to put your name up there with some of those greats is quite an accomplishment," Gillispie said.

Down by 4 at the half, Tennessee (10-5, 1-1) cut Kentucky's lead to 43-41 on a fastbreak basket by Wayne Chism a minute and a half into the second half.

INSTANT CLASSIC

The latest Instant Classic will feature Kentucky vs Tennessee with a focus on Jodie Meeks. Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET

But the Vols' spotty defense couldn't contain Meeks, who hit a layup and two 3-pointers to help the Wildcats on a 10-0 run that gave them a 53-41 lead. Even contested shots sank perfectly through the nets.

"Defensively we tried to guard him as a team," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "We didn't have any one guy on him, but none of our guards could guard him."

Kentucky began stumbling into foul trouble with 9:34 left, and Tennessee -- which to that point had shot 35 percent from the free-throw line -- sank 11 straight bonus shots to cut the Wildcats' lead to 71-64 with 6:52 left.

But Meeks, who also went a perfect 14-for-14 from the free-throw line, scored nine straight points to put the game away. No other Kentucky player scored in double figures. Patrick Patterson grabbed 12 rebounds.

"This year it's his team, and he's playing like it is and he's going all out," Chism said.

Tyler Smith led Tennessee with 19 points, Chism had 18 points and Bobby Maze added 11 points.

With two 3-pointers and a fast break layup by Meeks, Kentucky used a 12-0 run to grab a 28-20 lead with 7:27 in the first half. Meeks had 26 points in the first half, including going 5-for-7 from behind the arc.

Tennessee couldn't capitalize on several easy opportunities under the basket in the first half, and the Wildcats pushed their lead up to 39-28 with 2:37 left before halftime.

J.P. Prince stole the ball from Kevin Galloway, drove it to the basket and kicked it out to Smith, who sank a 3 with 15 seconds to cut the Wildcats' lead to 41-37 before the break.

Tennessee shot a measly 37.9 percent from the field compared to Kentucky's 56.6 percent and only hit six of 23 attempts from behind the arc.

The Vols forced 15 turnovers -- seven more than the Wildcats -- but could only turn them into 16 points.

"Tonight we were not competitive," Pearl said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UK
TENN
Points 90 72
FG Made-Attempted 30-53 (.566) 25-66 (.379)
3P Made-Attempted 12-19 (.632) 6-23 (.261)
FT Made-Attempted 18-20 (.900) 16-26 (.615)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
Largest Lead 20 5

2008-09 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Jan 13, 2009 UK 90, @TENN 72Recap
Feb 21, 2009 @UK 77, TENN 58Recap