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Kentucky Kernel

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At the buzzer: No. 16 Kentucky men’s basketball defeats UPenn 81-66

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham (0) shoots the ball during the Kentucky vs Pennsylvania men’s basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kentucky won 81-66. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

No. 16 Kentucky men’s basketball (7-2) defeated UPenn (6-5) 81-66 inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.

The game saw the return of five-star freshman D.J. Wagner, who missed the Cats’ previous game due to an ankle injury he sustained against Miami.

The Wildcats entered the game on the back of a shock defeat inside Rupp Arena against UNC Wilmington in a game that also saw the debut of Aaron Bradshaw. The Cats were without Wagner in the contest due to injury.

The game in the city of brotherly love marked the second away from home for the Cats after they faced off against then No. 1 Kansas in the United Center for the State Farm Champions Classic.

Looking to get things underway, the Cats marched out a starting lineup of Justin Edwards, Adou Thiero, Antonio Reeves, Wagner and Tre Mitchell. Freshman sensation Reed Sheppard returned to the bench while Bradshaw, fresh off his debut, still had to wait to enter the starting five.

Unfortunately for the high number of traveling Kentucky fans, it was to be another slow start, something that the Cats had become notorious for early in the season.

While the Quakers refused to go away, Kentucky continued to maintain its lead, still having not surrendered it over 12 minutes into the contest.

Kentucky would continue to increase the gap over the next four minutes.

While the lead would grow as large as 16 points, the Quakers would be able to shrink it down to 10 at the break.

The Wildcats would run into trouble coming out of the halftime break, though, as the Quakers rallied to get back within one point after erupting from beyond the arch.

While the Cats would get the lead back up to double digits, the Quakers once again heated from from deep with key 3-pointer quickly shrinking the lead back to four with just two possessions.

Kentucky wouldn’t be held down for long, though, as the immense talent on the roster quickly showed itself.

While Penn likely kept it closer than many Kentucky fans were hoping, the Wildcats were able to close out the game and get the bounce-back win.

Kentucky will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 16, from Atlanta, Georgia, to face off against North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic. The game will take place in the State Farm Arena and is set to tip off at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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About the Contributors
Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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