- Saturday, December 27 2008 -
Florida Atlantic - 69 (Head Coach: Mike Jarvis) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 76 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||8||0||1||0||0||2||2||2||0||2||0||0||0||1||1||2|
Halftime Score: Florida Atlantic 37, Kentucky 37
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Tennessee State 102 - 58|||||Central Michigan 84 - 52|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats escape FAU
Patrick Patterson has long been thought to have an 'S' on his chest but if this keeps up he may have to have his super human powers reevaluated. Even Superman was affected by kryptonite on occasion.
The sophomore forward turned in another otherworldly effort, outshining Florida Atlantic gunslinger Paul Graham III as Kentucky pulled out a 76-69 victory in front of 24,018 fans at Rupp Arena. Patterson poured in 27 points and snatched 14 rebounds as the Cats erased a second half deficit and fended off the feisty Owls. It was Patterson's eighth double double of the season and 14th of his short career.
"Patrick is a beast," guard Michael Porter said. "The way he was posting up it was easy for us to get him the ball and when he got the ball he made a play. That's what we need him to do.
"Patrick is doing an awesome job posting up. We're really looking for him because we know when we get it to him he's probably going to make it. Selfishly, that's an easy assist."
The numbers indicate when Patterson misses a shot it would be looked at as if it's a unicorn or some other mythical being. With a 12-of-16 shooting performance against Florida Atlantic Patterson is 27-of-33 the past two games and a mind-bending 71.5 percent from the field on the season.
On an otherwise sluggish afternoon Patterson's dominance on both ends of the floor and the energy brought to the table by Porter and walk-on Landon Slone helped the Cats avoid the dreaded holiday hangover.
"A win is a win," Patterson said. "Last year we lost around this time when we came back from Christmas break so we just needed a win.
"We weren't finishing baskets, weren't finishing plays, our offense was bad and we felt like we should have been up, should have been winning. We should have been playing the defense we had been the previous games. We naturally assumed with the practices we've been having we'd come out and perform like that but we weren't moving our feet in the first half."
It was almost too much for the Cats to overcome, along with Graham's career-high 31 points. It took a swift 16-3 spurt midway through the second half to turn a 51-46 deficit into a 62-54 advantage, a run that had Patterson's fingerprints all over it.
The 6-foot-9, 235-pounder jump-started the Cats by scoring off a put back of a missed DeAndre Liggins three-pointer. Two possessions later he stuffed Chris Watson's dunk attempt then fed Perry Stevenson for a dunk on the other end. Moments after that he took an entry pass from Slone and converted it before dunking home an alley-oop from Porter when FAU cut into the lead again. When the Owls later slashed a nine-point lead to just two with 2:52 remaining Patterson hit a short jumper and then threw down a vicious one-handed dunk to push the Cats' edge back to six.
"When you look at the final result I would say we didn't do a very good job (on Patterson)," Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis said. "He is one of those guys that you watch play and he is the kind of kid every coach wants to recruit. He plays hard all the time and it doesn't matter who he is playing against. He's just a warrior."
Even Patterson nearly wasn't enough. The Owls, who came into the game 4-8 on the year, got off to a fast start and never looked back on their way to shooting 51.7 percent in the first half. Behind Graham's explosive offensive production and the team's six threes in the second half they were able to hang around much longer than anyone expected.
"No one was able to guard No. 25," UK coach Billy Gillispie said. "I thought we put a lot of 'efenders' on him because there wasn't any 'D' out there."
Despite that breakout game the Cats continued their impressive offensive execution by shooting 54.4 percent from the field, including a 29-of-39 mark on two-point attempts. Patterson did much of the damage, as Jodie Meeks was held to a ho-hum (by his lofty standards) 18 points. It made Patterson's game even more important and the 'S' even a little larger.
Jodie Meeks shoots around Florida Atlantic's Chris Watson
Landon Slone fights for the ball against Florida Atlantic's Carderro Nwoji
Patrick Patterson shoots over Chris Watson