LOUISVILLE — His pre-game meal was the usual, eggs and hash browns.
"I guess today there was something in the eggs," said Jodie Meeks.
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He was smiling. He was smiling the smile of a college kid who had just had the day of his life, which had started out like any other day only to develop into something wonderful, something jaw-dropping, something record-breaking, something where people start chanting your name, in this case, "Jo-die, Jo-die, Jo-die."
Jodie Meeks was wearing a 46-point smile.
There aren't many of those.
That's the most points ever scored by a Kentucky basketball player in a game at Freedom Hall. It's the sixth-most points ever scored by a Kentucky basketball player anywhere, anyhow for any reason.
It's also the most points scored in an individual game by anyone coached by Billy Gillispie as a head coach or an assistant, as far as Billy G. could remember, anyway.
This might be a good time to mention the fairly important fact that with Meeks scoring nearly half its points, Kentucky beat Appalachian State 93-69.
"Incredible," said Gillispie.
So what does a day like that feel like?
"I had a pretty good idea I was hot," said Meeks.
Hot? Yes, and Yao Ming is tall, and Scarlett Johansson is somewhat attractive. But then Jodie Meeks is too nice a kid to brag or boast or gloat. Yes, this was a good day. A great day. Compared to last year, they're all great days.
"Last year being such a frustrating year for me, I'm just glad to be out there with my teammates playing pain-free," Meeks said. "That's the main thing for me, being out there and not feeling any pain and just having fun out there."
Last year was no fun. At all. Meeks missed 20 games of his sophomore season for what first was thought to be a hip pointer, then was finally diagnosed as a sports hernia. The pain would come and go, but stick around long enough to keep him out of games. Meeks would try to play, try to impress his new head coach, the one who's such a stickler for toughness, until finally, mid-February, he had to shut the whole thing down in favor of summer surgery.
Now, we're making up for lost time. Meeks scored 39 in the season-opening loss to VMI. He scored 37 out in Las Vegas, in that semifinal win over Kansas State. On this Saturday, he scored and scored and scored some more.
Here's the bucket brigade breakdown: Meeks scored 11 in the first 11 minutes. He had 24 by halftime. He hit 30 with 13:14 left.
"I didn't really know until I got to the free-throw line and I had 38," he said.
That was with 5:48 remaining, just before Meeks bottomed both free throws to hit 40. He followed that by flinging in a couple of three-pointers, bringing his total treys for the day to nine, tying the school record Tony Delk set against TCU back in 1996.
Not long after that, Gillispie motioned five new players to the scorer's table to check in as subs, then decided to bring back one, Mark Krebs. So four subbed into the game, and in stayed Meeks. He missed a three-pointer. He missed another three-pointer. Then, finally, with 41.7 ticks left, Krebs came in, Meeks came out.
"I wasn't trying to get him 50," claimed Gillispie.
Ah, but we media types called the coach on it, reminding that he did the four-sub thing, and the coach grinned that grin of his, and tried to convince us that he was actually just making sure that Meeks got the ovation he deserved — which, of course, he did.
Ah, but coach being coach — those darn perfectionists — Billy G. also gave his points machine a reality check, too.
"In the locker room, he asked me how I thought I played, and I already knew what he was going to say," reported the junior. "I said I thought I had a good shooting night, but defensively it was horrible. And he agreed."
Forty-six points and no love from the coach?
"Oh, yeah," said Meeks, grinning, "he said he'd never been part of a game like that."