TAMPA, Fla. -- Jodie Meeks scored 25 points and Patrick Patterson had 15 points and 14 rebounds Thursday to help Kentucky stop a four-game losing streak with a 71-58 victory over Mississippi in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Wildcats (20-12) advanced to Friday's quarterfinals against LSU (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) and kept alive their hopes of extending their streak of consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament to 18.
Mississippi (16-15) was outscored 35-20 in the second half, when Meeks had 15 points and Kentucky shot 54 percent from the field (14-of-26) and played stifling defense that forced the flustered Rebels into 11 turnovers.