Kentucky-Auburn: Wildcats Remain Unbeaten in SEC With Win Over Tigers

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IJanuary 22, 2009

The University of Kentucky finished last night with the only unblemished record in the Southeastern Conference as they defeated the Auburn Tigers in Lexington 73-64.

The game was closer than the final score would indicate, as Kentucky turnovers kept Auburn in the game.  A last second lay-in by Ramon Harris had given the Wildcats a one-point lead at half, 34-33.

Junior guard Jodie Meeks led the Wildcats again with 31 points.  Sophomore center Patrick Patterson added 21 points and 18 rebounds to help Kentucky to their fourth SEC win.

Losses by Florida and Mississippi State left Kentucky as the only team with a perfect record in conference play.

The surprising Kentucky team, which is still not ranked, has played consistently at home and on the road since league play started.  Early season losses to VMI, then top-rated North Carolina, Miami, and Louisville are the only blemishes on their record.

Meeks has become one of the most heralded players in the country, especially following the 54 points he put on Tennessee in Knoxville.  He continues his consistently spectacular play and is now being mentioned by some as a candidate for national player of the year.

Patterson was highly recruited coming out of high school and chose Kentucky in what some considered a surprise.  The Wildcats had failed to maintain their usual position among the top college teams in the country, and coach Tubby Smith was under fire in what would prove to be his last season in Lexington.

But Patterson finally committed to new coach Billy Gillispie and as a freshman was the only consistent offensive weapon.  Meeks was injured and played very little last year, but he has bounced back to have one of the best seasons of any Kentucky player in their storied history.

Junior forward Perry Stevenson also had a very good game with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocked shots.