COLUMBIA, S.C. — Kentucky's 77-59 meltdown defeat at South Carolina Wednesday night surprised UK big man Patrick Patterson.
"We had a great week of practice," he said. "... But we just did not play with any intensity, any heart and any composure."
By that standard, Patterson had an exceptional game. He showed plenty of intensity and heart. Despite one lapse of composure, his play drew praise from UK Coach Billy Gillispie.
"Patrick had one of the best games I've ever seen a big man have," said Gillispie, who added, "To have absolutely zero help, it was one of the most courageous (performances) I've ever seen.
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"He never backed down. He never quit posting. He never ran from it."
Patterson, who equaled his career high against a Southeastern Conference opponent with 28 points, voiced some pride in continuing to attack the goal. South Carolina blocked a school-record 16 shots.
"I didn't fade away," Patterson said. "I didn't shy away."
Patterson had at least seven of his shots blocked, plus he missed two or three dunks. He said his injured finger was not a factor.
"I just lost the grip on the ball," he said.
His frustrations led to mock cheering by South Carolina fans when he successfully dunked the ball in the second half.
"I heard the fans all night long," Patterson said in his typical unflappable tone. "Whatever they said, I heard."
Patterson lost his cool, momentarily, in the second half when he swatted the ball away with disdain after scoring. He acknowledged his frustration.
"That's something I never really show, frustration," he said.
When a technical foul seemed possible, South Carolina point guard Devan Downey interceded on Patterson's behalf and asked referee Mike Kitts to ignore Patterson's action.
"Just a player playing hard, trying to win," Downey said of Patterson. "I've been in that situation before. He didn't mean any harm."
Meeks sets record
As expected, the Gamecocks hounded Jodie Meeks, who had a hard-earned 18 points. He hit four three-pointers, which enabled him to surpass Travis Ford's UK record for treys in a season (101 in 1992-93).
Meeks improved his total to 102.
Galloway not present
Wing Kevin Galloway did not make the trip to South Carolina.
Gillispie said a "personal matter" was the reason. The UK coach declined to elaborate.
The UK radio network said Galloway had a death in the family.
After playing 15 minutes in the first half, Perry Stevenson did not get off the bench.
"Coach didn't think I needed to be in there," he said. "I had an awful first half. All I could do in the second half was hurt the team."
In his pre-game public comments, Gillispie emphasized the need to get defensive rebounds and limit the opponent to one shot per trip downcourt.
Stevenson did not grab a defensive rebound. Patterson had only three.
UK committed 20 turnovers, which led to a 17-3 edge in points off turnovers for South Carolina. ... Patterson and Meeks made 16 of 35 shots. The other Cats made four of 23.