KENTUCKY WILDCATS (5-6)
vs. Florida International Golden Panthers (3-8)
Monday, Dec. 31 ? Noon
Lexington, Ky. – (23,000)
TV: FSN South ? BBSN Delayed
The Wildcats close out the 2007 calendar year Monday, hosting the Florida International Golden Panthers in Rupp Arena.
The Cats are coming off a 81-72 loss Saturday to San Diego. UK was led by freshman Patrick Patterson and senior Ramel Bradley, both of whom scored 20 points. Patterson, along with sophomore Perry Stevenson, pulled down a team high five rebounds. It was Patterson?s fourth 20-point effort this season and his second in as many games.
Kentucky continued its hot shooting, as they shot at least 50 percent (25-50) for the fourth-straight game. UK is shooting a combined .525 over that four-game span.
The Wildcats close out their non-conference schedule next Saturday, when they host in-state rival Louisville.
Kentucky is in its 105th season of basketball. Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,953. Kentucky leads the SEC from the foul line, shooting 75 percent (142-190). The Wildcats rank first in the SEC in field goal percentage defense (.371). Patrick Patterson has four double-doubles, tied for the second-highest total in the SEC. He ranks in the league?s top 10 in both scoring (6th, 17.5) and rebounding (3rd, 8.5). Patterson is the first freshman since Sam Bowie (1979-80) to record two 20-10 games in a season. Patterson is the first freshman to record back-to-back 20-point games since Keith Bogans posted three straight 20-point games in the 2000 season. Kentucky has used 10 different starting line-ups through the first 11 games of the season. Freshman Patrick Patterson and sophomore Mark Coury have started 10 games apiece. Joe Crawford (1,079) became UK?s 54th member of the 1,000-point club against North Carolina. He currently sits in 44th place. Teammate Ramel Bradley (992 career points) is eight points shy of 1,000. The Wildcats have shot 50 percent or better from the field in its last four games.
SCOUTING FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL Located in Miami, Fla. (1,037 miles south of Lexington), Florida International (3-8, 0-2) is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The Golden Panthers, who play their games in Pharmed Arena (5,000), are led by a junior front court tandem of Russell Hicks and Alex Galindo. Hicks is averaging a team best 13.5 ppg and his 5.7 rpg is second on the team. Galindo is averaging 6.4 rpg, tops on the team and his 12.9 ppg is second best among the Golden Panthers.
FIU comes into the game on a four-game losing streak, including a loss in its last game at Purdue (59-44) on Saturday. Florida International has dropped eight of its last nine games.
One of only two foreign-born Hispanic head coaches in Division I, Sergio Rouco is in his fourth year as head coach at FIU. He has amassed a 36-62 (.367) record. Rouco was an assistant coach under UK coach Billy Gillispie at UTEP in 2003-04, where he helped turn around a program with a 24-win season and a postseason berth in the NCAA Tournament.