KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jodie Meeks was just trying to get a victory. He didn’t fathom having a chance at earning a spot among Kentucky’s greatest players.
Meeks, a junior guard, scored a school-record 54 points to help Kentucky cruise to a 90-72 win over No. 24 Tennessee on Tuesday.
“It means a lot to be in the same sentence as Dan Issel. It’s mind-boggling,” Meeks said. “I was just out there playing to win.”
Meeks, who broke Issel’s 39-year-old record of 53 points set at Mississippi, was mobbed by his Kentucky teammates in the middle of the Thompson-Boling Arena court, where the Wildcats (13-4, 2-0 SEC) handed the Volunteers (10-5, 1-1) their third loss this month.
The Southeastern Conference’s leading scorer surpassed his previous high of 46 points, which he set Dec. 20 against Appalachian State, with 4:50 left as he hit an open 3, one of 10 3-pointers Meeks made. He set the record with free throws with 1:31 left.
Meeks entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring with an average of 24.2 points per game.
“I have never seen anything like it,” Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. “Jodie Meeks had 46 against Appalachian State, and they are a nice team, but not near a team the quality of Tennessee and on the home court.”
The 54 points also was the biggest individual SEC performance since Shaquille O’Neal scored 52 points for Louisiana State against Arkansas State in 1990.
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
• Brigham Young 73, Texas Christian 61 — At Provo, Utah, Lee Cummard had 22 points and seven rebounds, Jonathan Tavernari added 14 points, and the Cougars ended the Horned Frogs’ four-game winning streak.
BYU (14-2, 2-0 Mountain West) led by as many as 24 points and never let TCU (11-6, 2-1) get closer than 12 in the second half.