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Meeks leads Kentucky over Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. | Jodie Meeks scored 45 points, setting a Bud Walton Arena record and leading short-handed Kentucky to an easy 79-63 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

Meeks scored 22 points in the first half and 23 in the second, capping his spectacular performance with a two-handed dunk with just over a minute to play. He helped the Wildcats (18-7, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) withstand the absence of center Patrick Patterson, who sprained an ankle in Tuesday night's win over Florida.

The rebuilding Razorbacks (13-10, 1-9) were without suspended point guard Courtney Fortson. Michael Washington and Stefan Welsh scored 14 points each for Arkansas.

Meeks went 17-of-24 from the field and 7-of-12 from 3-point range, breaking the 40-point mark for the third time this season. The junior scored the Wildcats' first seven points, then added a 3-pointer that made it 16-10 and put him over 1,000 points for his career.

Moments later, he made a 3-pointer while being fouled for a rare 4-point play. Later in the half, he scored another unusual basket, making a layup on a breakaway despite being wrapped up by Arkansas' Marcus Britt. The basket counted, and Britt was called for an intentional foul, giving Kentucky two shots and the ball.

Meeks, who scored 54 points at Tennessee last month, made one of two, and Ramon Harris added a basket inside, giving the Wildcats five points on the possession and a 37-22 lead. It was 40-29 at halftime.

Meeks made a pair of 3-pointers early in the second half to give the Wildcats a 47-31 lead. He reached 40 points when Arkansas' Michael Washington goaltended his shot with 3:25 left. The Razorbacks' Al Dillard set the previous arena record of 39 in 1993, the year the venue opened.