Johnny Neumann scored 53 points for Ole Miss at Vanderbilt on Dec. 22, 1970.
Kentucky plays at Vanderbilt on Tuesday night. With the way Jodie Meeks breaks scoring records this season, it's prudent to know the most points for any player in Memorial Gymnasium.
On Jan. 13, Meeks broke the record for points in Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena by pouring in 54. That also topped Dan Issel's 39-year school record for points in a game.
Then last weekend, Meeks set a new standard for Bud Walton Arena with 45 more.
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"It's nice to see him killing somebody other than the Vols," Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl quipped (at least it sounded like a quip) on a Southeastern Conference teleconference on Monday. "If he's seeing it, he's making it."
Only three Division I players are averaging more points than Meeks' 25.8 this season. Stephen Curry of Davidson leads the nation at 29.0.
Among SEC players, no one has averaged so many points this late in a season since Shaquille O'Neal averaged 27.6 in 1990-91.
Elder statesman C.M. Newton, who has been involved in SEC basketball since the 1960s, tried to put Meeks' season in perspective.
"I just don't remember anyone who contributed more to the success of a team than Meeks has done," Newton said on Monday.
That doesn't include Pete Maravich, who was like the Beatles: at an incomparable level.
"The thing Pete did so well was he made everybody else so much better," Newton said. "He distributed the ball so well. He always had the ball and still averaged 44 a game before the three-point line.
"That's a little bit in a league by itself."
Otherwise, Newton would put Meeks in the discussion of greatest seasons by an SEC player.
"All the attention given to basketball, he's somehow managed to rise above all the craziness and keep his head on straight," Newton said. "And I've been as impressed with him when he doesn't score a lot as when he does. Simply because he continues to contribute. He's a very tough defender. A lot of guys who are offensive machines, if they break down a little offensively, they don't guard people all of a sudden."
Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings needs no further convincing. As Pearl mentioned Meeks as a National Player of the Year candidate, so Stallings placed the UK guard among the elite this season.
"You hear a lot about Blake Griffin (of Oklahoma) and Stephen Curry and players like that," Stallings said. "I can't imagine anybody having a better season than Jodie Meeks is having. He's just been absolutely phenomenal, and phenomenal in every way."
UK Coach Billy Gillispie echoed the sentiment. "I've not seen anything like it," he said.
Newton and the SEC coaches noted several reasons Meeks' production astounds them.
Newton, whose basketball résumé includes coaching stops at Alabama and Vanderbilt, mentioned durability in a season coming off surgery.
"He's as live-legged late in a game as he is early in a game, which is unheard of," Newton said. "Most shooters, when they tire a little bit, they kind of lose their legs. They don't shoot as well. That has not happened with this guy."
Meeks also has little help to divert opponents' defensive attention elsewhere. And with Patrick Patterson sidelined with a sprained ankle, Arkansas had little fear of any other Cat.
"For him to have such tremendous pressure to be basically the lone guy that's been there day in and day out, he's just been unbelievable," Gillispie said.
Florida Coach Billy Donovan suggested an indefatigable will to score.
"I'd put (Devan) Downey in the same category," Donovan said of the South Carolina point guard. "Certain guys can will the ball in the basket."
Once it starts going in, Meeks gushes points. Or as Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh said after Saturday's game, "The more shots he gets, the bigger the basket gets."
Maybe most surprising is how Meeks continues to score while garnering the lion's share of the defensive attention. "He's got that mark right on his forehead every time they play," Newton said.
Yet in being named SEC Player of the Week last week, Meeks scored 68 points in two games.
"He's the best guy I've seen in a long time going from zero to 60 (mph) off screens," Donovan said. "Incredible explosiveness."
Vanderbilt had relative success containing Meeks when the teams played in Rupp Arena to begin the SEC season. He made only five of 16 shots in scoring 21 points. Gillispie saluted Vandy's sound defense, and noted how the Commodores can line up taller defenders against Meeks.
But on the eve of facing Meeks again, Stallings was not taking any bows.
"Oh, I don't know if it was us," the Vandy coach said. "Or he just missed some open shots. We were just fortunate he didn't shoot the ball particularly well that day."
Then perhaps recalling how Meeks scored 54 points at Tennessee four days later, Stallings added, "I'm not sure it was one or two things we did or he was saving all those points for Tennessee when he really needed them."