UK Men's Basketball

Cats rough out the smooth spots

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The latest memorable Jodie Meeks performance obscured a gutty performance by Kentucky.

Playing an Arkansas team fueled by kamikaze effort, UK seemed to get the most loose balls and 50-50 rebounds in a 79-63 victory Saturday.

"There was a big emphasis on playing hard," guard Michael Porter said. "Getting back to the nitty-gritty, so to speak. That's what's going to do it, for road victories, especially."

When asked why the nitty-gritty loomed so large, Porter said, "because we've been playing, maybe, soft. Or just a little too smooth. We are a team that needs to be rough. When we get back to that, it helps us a lot."

Patterson update

Patrick Patterson sat out Saturday's game because of the right ankle he sprained against Florida on Tuesday.

UK Coach Billy Gillispie was unsure whether Patterson could play at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

"We don't want this to be a lingering situation the rest of the season," Gillispie said. "... I've seen them where they just linger and linger and linger, and they never come back to where they were. So we'll make sure he's 100 percent before he can come back."

Patterson practically dragged his right foot along as he tried to participate in Friday night's practice.

The eyes have it

Watching Meeks early in the game gave Porter the idea that something special would happen.

"I kind of saw it in his eyes," Porter said. "I kind of knew he was going to have one of those nights."

What did Porter see? "He didn't seem too frustrated with them being all over him," Porter said. "He was comfortable out there. It didn't matter how close they were, he was going to score. It didn't matter if they fouled him, he was going to make the shot. It didn't matter if they flagrant fouled him, he was going to make the shot.

"I mean, gosh."

Surprise, surprise

Surprising numbers involving Meeks include:

■ He made only four of seven free throws at Arkansas. That marked the first time this season — and only the second time in his career — that Meeks missed more than two free throws. He made three of seven at Houston last season.

■ He was 17-for-24 from the field, 7-for-12 from three-point range, at Arkansas. In the previous four games, he had made 22 of 60 overall and nine of 29 from beyond the arc.

■ A continuation of much better shooting on the Southeastern Conference road.

In league games away from Rupp Arena, he's made 56.8 percent of his shots (52 percent on three-pointers).

In home games, he's made 40.5 percent of his shots (38.9 percent from beyond the arc).

One man band

Of Meeks' 22-point first half, Gillispie quipped, "That meant we probably had 24 or something."

Actually, UK had 40 points at halftime.

Where's Galloway?

Kevin Galloway, the hero of UK's victory over Florida on Tuesday, played only three minutes against Arkansas.

"Galloway wasn't nearly as aggressive as the other day," Gillispie said without the spur of a question. "He looked like a totally different player. We need his aggression to come back to give us the best opportunity for transition baskets."

Harrellson 'timid'

Josh Harrellson started in place of the injured Patterson. But he sat next to Patterson other than a scoreless 13-minute stint.

"Josh played timid," Gillispie said, "Maybe because he was starting for the first time."

Gillispie had A.J. Stewart set to report into the game after Michael Washington beat Harrellson on a pick-and-roll play with 18:14 left in the first half.

Etc.

■ Ramon Harris' season-high nine rebounds were one shy of a career high. He had 10 against Tennessee Tech and against Georgia in the SEC Tournament last season.

■ Meeks extended his streak of double-digit points to 25 games. That's the long est since Tayshaun Prince went 29 straight games in the 2000-01 season.

■ Porter has made six of 12 three-point shots in the past three games.

■ UK beat Arkansas for the ninth straight time. The Cats' longest current winning streak against an SEC team is 10 straight against Auburn.

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