Wednesday, November 17th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
No. 14 Kentucky took control with an 18-4 run midway through the second half and cruised to a 67-50 victory over Pennsylvania on Wednesday night in the first round of the Preseason NIT.
With the season-opening win, the Wildcats advanced to face No. 16 Utah in the second round of the tournament, to be played Friday at Rupp Arena. The winner travels to Madison Square Garden in New York for next week's semifinals.
Coming off the bench, freshman big man Marvin Stone enjoyed a sensational debut for the Wildcats, leading the team with 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. His rim-rattling dunk with 5:56 remaining gave Kentucky a 61-44 lead and brought the fans out of their seats to punctuate the win.
Though their attack frequently sputtered, the Wildcats got balanced scoring and rebounding from up and down their lineup. Jamaal Magloire had 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds, Tayshaun Prince had nine points and eight rebounds and Desmond Allison had 11 points and seven boards.
A swarming Wildcats defense, which mixed in liberal doses of a full- and half-court press, limited Penn to just 31.6 percent shooting from the field, 26.9 percent from 3-point range. For the game, the Wildcats outrebounded the Quakers 43-37.
Matt Langel and Ugonna Onyekwe each had 14 points for the Penn, with Onyekwe grabbing eight rebounds. Guard Michael Jordan, who averaged 15.3 points per game last season for the Ivy League champions, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with just five points on 2-of-14 shooting.
With Kentucky leading 38-36 with 13:46 remaining, Saul Smith kicked off the Wildcats charge with a 3-pointer. Moments later, after a frenetic series of steals and blocks at both ends of the floor, Stone added a short jumper to push the lead to seven.
After two free throws by Allison and another 3-pointer, this one by Prince, Kentucky led 48-36 and was in control.
The Wildcats had jumped ahead 15-4 in the first half, thanks to an 11-0 run, but tentative offensive play and mediocre shooting let Penn back into the game.
Trailing 21-13, the Quakers got five points from Onyekwe and eight points from Langel, including two 3-pointers, in a 13-2 surge that gave them a brief lead.
Langel, however, played most of the first half with two fouls and picked up his third early in the second half, forcing Penn coach Fran Dunphy to sit him for long stretches. He never regained his shooting touch, finishing 5-of-11 from the field.