xt79w08w9z7t https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt79w08w9z7t/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1990 Volume 15 -- Number 14 athletic publications  English Wildcat News Company Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. The Cats' Pause UKAW University of Kentucky Men's Basketball (1990-1991) coaches Pitino, Rick players Woods, Sean Hanson, Reggie National Invitational Tournament (1992) journalists Ledford, Cawood University of Kentucky Football (1990) Thomas, Mike Curry, Bill statistics recruiting schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  December 1, 1990 text The Cats' Pause,  December 1, 1990 1990 2019 true xt79w08w9z7t section xt79w08w9z7t Vols survive, 42-28 -Page UK to play in '91 NIT _
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Though Bill Curry's Kentucky team was dismantled by Florida at home the week before and entered the Tennessee game with a 4-6 record, the 'Cats turned K-town upside down in the early going. With backup quarterback Ryan Hockman in relief of injured Freddie Maggard for the second week in a row, Kentucky raced
out to first-half leads of 14-0 and 21-7 over No. 14 UT. The Sugar Bowl-bound Volsthanks to speedy receiver Carl Pickens and defensive back-return man Dale Carterscored 28 unanswered points at one point, however, and held on to edge the stubborn 'Cats 42-28.
StOry, page 5. phoo by Bill Shipley
Meanwhile, back in Lexington a few hours after the football 'Cats wrapped up their season in Knoxville, Kentucky basketball fans were dancing in the aisles as the basketball 'Cats tipped off their season with a comfortable 85-62 victory over the visiting Pennsylvania Quakers.
Head coach Rick Pitino, left, even got in on the act, kicking up his heels on the sideline.
Story, page 7.
photo by Todd Blevins
Was it Banks or UK that said: 'Let's play two?'
With the season opener safely tucked away, Rick Pitino now sets sights on a pair of games which will go a very long way in determining if Kentucky can pass the .500 mark this season and step up another notch in its drive to regain its spot among the nation's elite in college basketball.
Knowing there was practically no chance for his team to be upset by Pennsylvania last Saturday, Pitino tried a little bit of everything, including a strong effort in trying to find out just which players are in shape.
He also dished out playing time to every player on the squad, thereby keeping everyone motivated and happy, for at least the time being.
But all that is now history. From this point forward, only those who have earned playing time and those who Pitino feels can make this team a winner will be on the playing court. Especially this week when UK first travels to Cincinnati on Wednesday for the Cats' first nationally televised game in two years and then on to the Big Four Classic against Notre Dame on Saturday.
Quite frankly, Kentucky is in a situation where it must win at least one of the two games or face the strong possibility that it will be lucky to match last year's 14-14 mark.
Cincinnati, to some people, should be just a mild opponent to pad the victory column - Those followers are dead wrong. In fact, if Kentucky should go 1-1 over the next two games, I'd be mighty surprised if the loss didn't come at the hands of the Bearcats.
Bob Hudgins has done a great job of rebuilding the UC program and the Bearcats will be one of the surprise teams as the winter wanders into spring next March.
Tony Yates, who departed a couple years ago after being unable to create interest in the community and win enough games to get the Bearcats in the Top 25, was successful in attracting some quality athletes, talent-wise. But the academics were something else.
Hudgins now has the athletes and the academics in line. The combination will spell success for a program which will only benefit from joining the new Big Midwest Conference along with DePaul, Marquette, St. Louis, Alabama-Birmingham and Memphis State.
But back to the Kentucky-UC clash.
There has been bad blood between the two schools for decades. In fact, the feud became so volatile that the two schools had to call off the series for several decades before Joe B. Hall revived it back in the early 80's.
It was once again put on the backburner after Yates and UC wanted to play keep-away in 1983 at Riverfront Coliseum in a game won by UK, 24-11.
Despite that situation, Kentucky agreed to another series of games but it could be coming to an end in the near future when
the current contract expires.
With this Wednesday's game being UK's first visit into the new, friendly confines of Shoemaker Arena, the Bearcats and their fans are waiting for the opportunity to ambush the big, bad 'Cats.
Reports from Cincinnati have it that tickets to the game have been almost as hard to get as a ticket to the recent World Series in Cincinnati.
One thing is for sure, Kentucky will not enjoy the large, loyal following from northern Kentucky at Shoemaker as the 'Cats did at Riverfront Coliseum back in 1983. First of all, Shoemaker seats about 6,000 or so less than Riverfront.
Secondly. UC officials were anything but happy with UK having the home-court advantage on their home court at Riverfront. This time, UK will be playing a truly road game. And the result could show it.
For Kentucky to pull a mild upset, and that's what I would call a Kentucky win there, the 'Cats will certainly have to improve their poor rebounding effort given against Penn Saturday.
Defensively, UK waved a lot of hands, but didn't create the turnovers which made for easy baskets on the other end like a year ago.
Of course, Penn was the 'Cats' opening game and first-game jitters were evident from some veterans as well as all the newcomers. Some times, a team is fortunate enough to schedule two or three easy wins to start off a season just to overcome the jitters.
Kentucky enjoys no such luxury. Into into the frying pan. But Kentucky could be ready. After all, the Wildcats entered their second game last season against Indiana in the Hoosier Dome and nearly pulled off what would have been one of the biggest early-season upsets in the nation last year.
Speaking of the Hoosier Dome brings us to the matchup with Notre Dame on Saturday and Kentucky's chances for a winning season will loom even larger.
Of all the non-conference road contests this season, there is no game which Kentucky has a better chance of winning.
We don't count the Western Kentucky game as a road contest since Freedom Hall is the 'Cats' second home. Other non-league road games are at Louisville, Indiana and North Carolina.
You can figure this one out for yourself.
And I have a sneaky feeling that this game is one Rick Pitino is especially looking forward to although he cannot look past Cincinnati until Thursday morning.
We go back to last season's final game in South Bend when UK was fighting for one last victory to go over the hump for a 15-13 mark, a mark everyone labeled as impossible prior to the season.
Kentucky led early in the game, but lack of depth on the bench played a
significant role in the final half and Irish coach Digger Phelps enjoyed one of his rare victories over UK.
Pitino didn't feel particularly good about the loss, especially when he felt his team had a good shot of pulling out the victory.
For Digger, it was sheer delight. Outside of Indiana (and I'm not even sure about that), there isn't a game on his schedule Digger would rather win.
Of course, Phelps is probably boasting about his modest two-game winning streak over the 'Cats, but he'd better enjoy them right now. Saturday, Digger has a better than average shot of a victory and if the Irish win, I'll predict right now it will be the only time he will ever again in his career be in a position to own a three-game winning streak over UK.
Notre Dame won two years ago during Eddie Sutton's last campaign in which UK suffered its first losing season in a million or so years. And he got the 'Cats in South Bend last winter and barely escaped.
Before those two games. Kentucky had
owned Digger and the Irish over the past three decades when numerous great Irish teams were upset time and again. Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and Eddie Sutton owned the Irish.
Hall, in particular, captured more major upsets over the Irish than probably any two teams cn the Irish schedule. Sutton, until his final, ill-fated last season, savored the Irish matchup.
Notre Dame devotes a major section in its media guide to major upsets accomplished over the years by the Irish and the few times they'e been able to beat UK, they're prominently noted. What would be interesting to see would be the major upset losses by the Irish over the years. If there were such a section, the guide would begin to look more like a Kentucky media guide than anything else.
If Kentucky can pull out this one Saturday, it will be tap city for Digger and the Irish. This one, Kentucky will put in the victory column, and on its way to a winning season.
What a day in Knoxville!
Pulling a double-dip like lots of other people was no easy task, but well worth the effort in watching Bill Curry's 'Cats give Tennessee a real scare, then rushing back to Lexington for Pitino and his Cats' home opener that night.
Some 7,500 Kentucky fans followed the 'Cats to Knoxville despite the unfortunate conflict with the opening basketball game. And with the football game being televised nationally by TBS-TV, the 7,500 fans were even more impressive.
To their credit, the football team did not disappoint. There have been a few times Kentucky has beaten Tennessee in Knoxville, one in the 1980s and once in the 1970s, but never before did a Kentucky team put up a great fight against such monumental odds.
Going into the game a 28-point underdog, Curry's 'Cats shocked the crowd of about 94,000 with a 14-point outburst and a 14-0 lead in the game's first 10 minutes.
After Tennessee scored to cut the gap to 14-7 following a Kentucky mistake, the Wildcats shocked everyone again by faking a field goal and scoring on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Steve Phillips to Rodney Jackson, who made a great catch in the end zone. Suddenly, Kentucky led 21-7.
But just as evident that UK was clicking to perfection, it also was evident that much of the 'Cats' success was on enthusiasm and emotion. And football followers know emotion only carries a team so far when the opponent is so superior in talent.
Tennessee raced by UK in the opening minutes of the third period and took a 35-21 lead, but the Wildcats refused to fold the tent and surrender. Kentucky closed the score to 35-28 late in the game, but the Vols' superior depth proved too much.
But unlike years past when UK played so hard but came away on the short end in Knoxville, this time UT followers held a different opinion.
In the past, UT faithful would say well, "that's Kentucky's one shot at us this decade." This time, they left mumbling and wondering if this guy name Bill Curry just might do something nasty at UK, like build a real, winning football team.
There have been seasons when UK compiled 5-6 marks and Kentucky fans felt they had been cheated, especially as the seasons came to a close.
While a 4-7 mark is nothing to shout about, Curry's first team seemed to come together a great deal down the stretch. That brief time in which Florida was so superior is more than overshadowed by the great effort given by UK last Saturday.
Now, it's to the recruiting trails for Curry and his staff. The coaches will be hitting the telephone lines all this week and then hitting the highways and skyways beginning Saturday during the official in-home contract period for high school seniors. Privately, the UK staff is just as optimistic by the current recruiting season as it has been publicly. And this is unusual. Usually, a staff has one feeling which is puts out for public consumption and then another which, usually, isn't as positive. UK coaches feel like the national exposure on TBS three times did nothing but help UK in its recruiting efforts. Some followers were worried about recruits watching the Florida massacre, -but the Tennessee effort more than overshadowed the Gator game...
Several UK officials made the double-dip to Knoxville and back to Lexington in
Please see, OSCAR COMBS, page 26 ~/ vvas uur
UP AND OVER: Tennessee linebacker Earnest Fields got a hat on Al Baker, but couldn't stop the    standing in relief for the second straight week, com-
'Cat tailback from putting Kentucky in front 7-0 on this one-yard plunge
photo by Bill Shipley
pleting 15 of 29 for 143 yards and 2 TDs. photo by Bill Shipley
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i& 6
Vols rally, defeat 'Cats 42-28
Big third quarter lifts UT to one win away from tasting Sugar; Curry's Wildcats end season at 4-7
The University of Kentucky closed its first century of football with a 42-28 loss to Tennessee that left the Wildcats with a 4-7 finish, worst since 1982, when Jerry Claiborne's first UK team was 0-10-1; however, there were enough bright spots to assure a successful entry into the next 100 years of Wildcat football.
For starters, the Wildcats took the battle to the heavily favored (four touchdowns) Volunteers on UT's home turf and were leading 21-14 before Dale Carter proceeded to return the second-half kickoff 69 yards and set up UT's tying touchdown.
Then the junior college transfer from Oxford. Ga., returned a punt 29 yards to set up the Vol's tying score, and, with less than six minutes gone from the third-quarter clock, returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.
"Dale Carter had a phenomenal day," Wildcat coach Bill Curry said. "He's a great player and he certainly made a difference today. I don't know how many points resulted from his big plays, but it had to be 21 or more."
Also adding to UK's downfall were Vol
quarterback Andy Kelly, who threw for 300 yards and a school-record five touchdowns, and wide receiver Carl Pickens, who caught 12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, which tied a school mark. (Jim Powell caught three scoring passes against Mississippi in 1946).
However, the Wildcats had some heroes of their own, starting with sophomore quarterback Ryan Hockman, who played with poise after stepping in for Freddie Maggard, the UK starter who reinjured his right shoulder midway of the first quarter.
After UK received the opening kickoff, Maggard led the Wildcats on an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive, with senior Al Baker scoring from the one. Hockman replaced Maggard, who was injured on UK's next possession.
After Bill Hawk's 55-yard punt was returned to the UT 22, UK's Derrick Thomas knocked down and intercepted a Kelly pass on the 20. Hockman passed 11 yards to Terry Samuels and then nine yards to Phil Logan for the score.
The second quarter was only two minutes old when Pickens outdistanced the UK secondary, caught a Kelly pass on the 20 and completed a 71-yard scoring play.
The Wildcats came right back with holder Steve Phillips, on a fake field goal try, rolling left and hitting tight end Rodney Jackson for a spectacular reception in the end zone.
"It was a called play all the way," Phillips said. "I was supposed to look for the run first, but Rodney was so wide open I threw it. I was afraid I had floated it too far."
A turning point of the game came on UK's next series, when Hockman was called for a controversial intentional grounding, moving the 'Cats back to their own nine-yard line. While scrambling to avoid a UT rush, Hockman had hurried a throw to UK's sideline, missing two receivers in the area.
"I thought it was roughing the passer or something," Hockman said. "No way I
UK head coach Bill Curry: i i
We've learned some painful lessons this year. You have to play hard and well. We've started now. This season is like a warm-up. We've gotten to know each other and understand our system. This team has really tried hard. I feel for our seniors. They've been marvelous. I'm just sorry they go out with a losing record.
thought it was grounding. But you have topick
yourself up and get ready for the next play."
On that next play, UK tailback Mike Thomas fumbled and UT's Mark Moore recovered. Kelly hit Alvin Harper for a 12-yard score, cutting UK's lead to 21-14 with 3:13 remaining in the half.
While Curry refused to comment on the intentional grounding call, Wildcat athletics director C. M. Newton, in the press box at halftime, sought the SEC representative on hand to observe the officials and voiced his displeasure with the officiating.
Carter's return of the second half kickoff gave UT the ball at the UK 30. Three plays later, Kelly hit Pickens for a 12-yard score. Then Carter's punt return gave UT possession at the UK 47, and Kelly hit Anthony Morgan from 22 yards out to climax a seven-play drive.
Four plays later, Carter intercepted a Hockman pass and rambled 41 yards for the score that put UT up by 14.
The Wildcats came back midway of the fourth quarter, driving 55 yards and scoring on a fourth-and-goal pass from Hockman to Logan.
However, Kelly teamed with Pickens to march to the UK 25, where the UT quarterback hit Pickens for the final score.
Hockman, who engineered three of UK's four scoring drives, finished with 15 completions in 29 attempts for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He threw two interceptions, with one being returned for a touchdown.
"I thought that Ryan Hockman had an outstanding performance," Curry said. "I was very proud of him."
The Wildcat quarterback got his first taste of action a week earlier, when he completed 10 of 13 passes at the tag end of a 47-15 loss to Florida. Then during a Wednesday practice session, Maggard re-separated a right shoulder that he had injured in the North
Carolina game.
"We gave Freddie the opportunity to try and get it going," UK quarterback coach Daryl Dickey said. "He took us down and we scored. We asked him to throw one hard one and when he did, he threw his shoulder out again."
After Maggard was injured at North Carolina, Brad Smith had stepped in and quarterbacked the Wildcats to a pair of wins. Four games later, Maggard returned to replace Smith (knee injury) and direct the game-winning drive against Georgia and a win over Vanderbilt.
"Hockman has been playing and practicing tremendously well the last few weeks," Dickey said. "He has been waiting for his opportunity and I thought he played exceptionally well today."
Dickey, who added that he was impressed with the poise shown by Hockman in both his game appearances, said he was "extremely excited" about having him for two more years.
He can also look forward to having Maggard one more year, Smith and Hockman two more years, and freshmen Pookie Jones and Mike Kinney four more years.
"It should be interesting to see what happens," Hockman said.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats will lose prime-time seniors Al Baker, Phil Logan and Randy Holleran, as well as five tight ends, including Bobby Henderson and Rodney Jackson.
Baker rushed for 96 yards against Tennessee, finishing the season with 780 yards. He also set UK's single-season receiving record (35 catches) for a running back. George Adams held the old mark, 33, set in 1984."
Logan finished his UK career third in receptions with 83 and fifth in receiving yards with 1.219. He had at least one catch in each of his last 16 games.
Holleran, who recently was named to The Sporting News All-America second team, was unofficially credited with four tackles against Tennessee, bringing his season total to 165, including 104 solo hits. (See story on Page 10).
Hawk, a junior, averaged 49.8 yards per kick against the Vols for the fourth-best day ever for a UK punter. Lou Michaels holds the record, averaging 53 yads on five attempts against Florida in 1957.
"This is an extremely disappointing game," Hawk said. "I'm very happy with the way I played, but everything comes down to beating Tennessee, and we didn't do it."
Curry thought the Wildcats played hard against an outstanding Tennessee Volunteer club, with a win over Vanderbilt is headed for the Sugar Bowl.
"We've learned some painful lessons this year," he said. "You have to play hard and well. We've started now. This season is like a warm-up.
"We've gotten to know each other and understand our system. This team has really tried hard. I feel for our seniors. They've been marvelous. I'm just sorry they go out with a losing record.
"We don't intend to have losing seasons at Kentucky. We will not be daunted in the least by anything that happened today or this season."
First downs.......................................................19 17
Rushes-yards.............................................48-163 28-72
Passing yards.................................................208 300
Attempts-completions-interceptions............39-21-3 32-19-2
Total yards.......................................................371 372
Return yards (does not include kickoffs)...........35 103
Punts-average ..........................................5-49.8 737.1
Fumbles-tost....................................................2-2 0-0
Penallies-yards..............................................6-68 842
Possession time...........................................37:15 22:45
KENTUCKY....................................14    7    0 7 - 28
TENNESSEE..................................                                 0   14   21 7-42
UKBaker 1 njn (Peifrey kick) 7-0. UK
UKLogan 9 pass from Hockman (Peifrey kick) 14-0, UK
UTPickens 71 pass from Kelly (Burke kick) 14-7. UK UKR Jackson 22 pass from Phillips (Peifrey kick) 21-7. UK
UTHarper 12 pass from Kelly (Burke kick) 21-14. UK
UTPickens 12 pass from Kelly (Burke kick) 21-21, nE
UTMorgan 22 pass from Kelly (Burke kick) 2821. UT
UTCarter 41 interception return (Burke kick) 35-21. UT
UKLogan 4 pass from Hockman (Peifrey kick) 35-28. UT
UTPickens 25 pass from Kelly 42-28. UT
Attendance: 92.243
Baker	25	99	3	96	1	16
Samuels	10	60	0	60	0	13
Thomas	2	13	0	13	0	9
Hockman	10	23	29	-6	0	11
Branum	1	0	0	0	0	0
TOTALS	48	195	32	163		16
Maggard	7	5	0		0	11
Hockman	29	15	2	143	2	22
Phillips	2	1	- 1	22	1	22
Baker	1	0	0	0	0	0
TOTALS	39	21	3	208	3	22
Baker			3	-1	0	5
Logan			6	70	2	20
Samuels			5	41	0	11
R. Jackson			3	38	1	22
Page			ii:' I	8 Q	0	8
Henderson Clark			1	21	0 0	9 21
Phillips			1	22	0	22
TOTALS			21	208	3	22
Hawk			5	249	498	65
TOTALS			5	249	498	65
Peifrey			1		0	
TOTALS			1		0	
Tolbe.-t	4	21	3	54		_ 
Johnson			2	63		- 
D. Thomas						1 14
Williams			1	4		
Sherwood			-			1 0
TOTALS	4	21	e	121		2 14
Thompson	22	86	7	79	0	14
Kelly		7	14	-7	0	5
Amsler	1	1	0	1	0	1
Poles	1	0	1	-1	0	-1
TOTALS	28	94	22	72	0	14
Kelly	32	19		300	5	71
TOTALS	32	19	2	300	5	71
Amsler			1	20	0	20
Pickens			10	201	3	71
Moore			4	27	0	12
Harper			2	21	1	12
Adams			1	9	0	9
Morgan			1	22	1	22
TOTALS			19	300	5	71
Chapman			5	190	380	42
Kelly			2	70	350	36
TOTALS			7	260	37.1	42
Burke			1	0		-
TOTALS			1	0		-
Carter	4	62	.	148		1 41
Morgan			1	20		 
Fields						1 0
Miley				-		1 0
TOTALS	4	62	5	168		3 41
 MONSTER MASH: Freshman Jamal Mashburn, who HAMMER TIME: The other half of the M&M duo, Gimel scored 12, connects on this reverse layup. Pho,o by Tedder   Martinez, is fouled. Martinez scored 10.    pho,o by m ae*,
UK-Pennsylvania play-by-play
16:47	Hanson 6 ft.	2-0	
16:26	Pelphrey layup follow	4-0	
15:27	Mashburn FT, FT	6-0	
14:56		6-2	McMahon layup
13:32		6-4	McMahon 13 ft
12:48		6-5	Purdy FT, FTA
12:33	Martinez layup	8-5	
12:08		8-7	Milobsky 9 ft, follow
111:09	Brassow 20 ft.	11-7	
10:02	Mashburn 6 ft. follow	13-7	
9:57	Mashburn 7 ft.	15-7	
| 9:27	Brassow 20 ft.	18-7	
! 9:01	Hanson layup follow	20-7	
8:14		20-9	Marshall FT, FT
8:06	Hanson dunk	22-9	
7:19	Feldhaus FT, FT	24-9	
! 7:09		24-11	Curran layup
| 4:47	Hanson FT, FT	26-11	
2:55	Hanson FT, FT	28-11	
51		2614	Graf layup. FT
2:44	Farmer 23 ft.	31-14	
1:54	Martinez 4 ft.	33-14	
1:32	Brassow 21 ft.	36-14	
1:14		3616	McMahon 15 ft.
0:43	Martinez 6 ft.	3616	
0:40		3618	Purdy FT, FT
0:05		38-20	McMahon 7 ft.
HALF		38-20	
]19:50	Mashburn 7 ft.	40-20	
119:34		40-22	Graf 17 ft.
19:25	Pelphrey FT, FT	42-22	
i17:50		42-24	McMahon FT, FT
17:05	Mashburn layup	44-24	
16:46		44-26	Curran layup
16:36	Hanson layup follow	i 4626	
16:20		4629	McMahon 17 ft., FT
16:10	Pelphrey FT, FT	4629	
15:36		48-31	McMahon 4 ft.
15:16		4633	Marshall layup
14:55	Farmer FT, FT	50-33	
13:58		50-35	Purdy layup
13:22	Farmer 22 ft.	53-35	
12:37	Farmer 21 ft.	5635	
12:19	Pelphrey 22 ft.	59-35	
11:44	Mashburn dunk	61-35	
11:14	Pelphrey 21 ft.	64-35	
10:35	Farmer FT, FTA	6535	
10:20		65-37	McAllister 15 ft.
9:43		6S-39	Schewe layup follow
9:31	Hanson FTA, FT	66-39	
9:03	Hanson FT, FT	6639	
8:45		6641	McAllister layup
8:29 j	Woods FT, FT	70-41	
7:48 !		70-43	McAllister layup
7:32 j	Martinez 7 ft.	72-43	
I 7:10 i		7245	Marshall layup
7:00 '	Thomas 10 ft.	7445	
5:57|		7447	Milobsky 16 ft.
5:05 !		7449	McAllister 10 ft., FTA
4:39 |		74-52	Purdy 21 ft.
4:09!		74-54 j	Purdy 13 ft.
3:05 :	Thompson 21 ft., FT	78-54	
2:53;		7655	McAllister FTA, FT
1:59 i	Feldhaus FT, FT	80-55	
1:50		80-57	Blount layup
1:39 |	Martinez FT, FT	82-57	
0:58		82-59	Brown FT, FT
0:26|		82-62 I	Blount 20 ft.
0:19 !	3rassow 22 ft.	85-52	
FINAL		85-62	
ENTERING THE BALLGAME FOR KENTUCKY: Wildcat coach Rick Pitino kept the scorer's table busy in the
opener, using countless substitutions as no Wildcat played more than 24 minutes.
I-1 mr^z&
photo by Todd Blevins ,//ie (Date'
Although the transition may have been somewhat sloppy, the 1990-91 Kentucky Wildcats and their success at Rupp Arena tipped off with a victory last Saturday.
Kentucky placed six scorers in double figures to easily handle Ivy League foe Pennsylvania 85-62. Senior Reggie Hanson, starting at center, tied for game-high scoring and rebounding honors with 15 points and six rebounds.
"We're pleased with the win and I'm happy our first game is over," Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino, now 14-2 at Rupp Arena in one-plus seasons, said. "Now we get into a very tough part of our schedule."
The main attraction to the 23.996 Wildcat fans on hand was the debut of four true freshmen and one redshirt freshman.
Jamal Mashburn, the only newcomer to start, appeared comfortable in the college setting. Against a small frontline, Mashburn roamed freely near the basket, scoring 12 points on five-of-seven shooting from the field.
"I really wasn't nervous," Mashburn told the media afterward.
Any surprises about the high school to college transition?
"No suprises," Mashburn said. "No surprises at all."
The other rookiesGimel Martinez, Carlos Toomer, Jody Thompson and Henry Thomasall had their moments (see notes).
"I think they were great," Sean Woods said of his new teammates. "Carlos came in and showed poise. Jamal and Gimel showed poise. Those three guys are going to be all right for us; they are going to help us down the road.
"I'm just looking forward to playing with these guys for two more seasons."
Two areas where Pitino's 'Cats struggled were rebounding, ball handling. Blame it on on rustiness, opening night jitters and/or a revolving door at the scorer's table.
Kentucky outrebounded Penn, but only by one, 38-37. And the Quakers outhustled their opponents on the offensive boards, 16-11.
"Rebounding was the most disappointing part of the evening," Pitino said. "I think we're a better rebounding team. But, Gimel Martinez is going to get stronger, he's got to do that. Jamal (four rebounds) is a better rebounder than he showed tonight. Deron (Feldhaus) is a better rebounder than he showed tonight.
"But we played a lot of people. It'll be OK."
UK was guilty of 16 turnovers, but its opponent, mainly because of an effective Wildcat press, committed 21. The Quakers, trailing 38-20 at halftime, turned the ball over 15 times in the first half.
"I appreciate Kentucky pulling off (the press) in the second half," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "It was difficult for us. We responded OK to their pressure. We could have done a better job of throwing the ball in the middle of the court."
It was UK's press that helped overcome a sluggish beginning. Penn didn't score its first basket until almost five minutes elapsed. In fact, the game's first basket didn't fall through the nets until Hanson hit a four footer at the 16:47 mark.
The  Wildcat  lead  increased  to 6-0
Kentucky's full-court pressure defense had the Quakers, well...quaking in their boots. Penn had 15 turnovers at halftime, half of them coming against the press. UK forced 21 turnovers for the game. 10 off the press, and also forced one held-ball situation and caused the Quakers to call two timeouts to avoid 10-second violations.
"It was difficult," Dunphy said of UK's harrassing full-court press. "And I appreciate 'em pulling it off in the second half."
Pitino called off his 'Cats, dropped back into a half-court defense early in the second half and substituted very, very freely he said, out of respect for Dunphy and his team.
"We made use of our depth tonight because we wanted to show respect for Pennsylvania," Pitino, who made 39 total substitutions and allowed no player more than 24 minutes of action, said. "We weren't using it for any other reason than that.
"The toughest thing to do is come into Rupp Arena, if you're Pennsylvania, and we just did not want to in any way get them to feel we were trying to go after a score. Their kids were working very, very hard, and I did not in any way want to embarrass them because their effort was great."
Pitino isn't likely to abandon the press again in the near future, however. The UK coach says the full-court pressure is the only thing separating his team from mediocrity at this stage of the season