Kentucky has relied on a trio of freshmen for the bulk of its offense this season, but its lone senior Josh Harrellson has started to contribute more points in recent games.
Harrellson will try to build on a career-best scoring performance as the No. 10 Wildcats close out non-conference play Monday night against visiting Pennsylvania.
Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb have accounted for 49.7 of Kentucky’s 80.3 points per game this season. Knight, averaging a team-best 18.0 points, led the way with 25 in a 78-63 victory over No. 22 Louisville on Friday.
Harrellson finished with a career-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and tied another personal best with 14 rebounds in his team’s sixth straight win.
Along with Jones, the forward has been one of the Wildcats’ top rebounders this season and has helped make up for the frontcourt departures of DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton.
Harrellson has also been stepping up offensively for Kentucky (11-2) over the past few games. He averaged 4.4 points in the first eight contests but has scored 10.6 per game in the last five.
Harrellson drew Calipari’s ire early this season for some comments on Twitter in which he vented his frustration over the coach’s reluctance to praise him.
“What I said to him after the game was that he’s taught me a lesson,” Calipari said. “Guys that are struggling sometimes are pushed to the side. What he has shown me is that every kid deserves everything that we have to get better. … I’m just proud of him.”
With Calipari relying mostly on a rotation of six players, Harrellson will try to keep contributing when the Wildcats face the Quakers (5-5).
Tyler Bernardini had a season-high 18 points in the loss. Zack Rosen, averaging a team-best 16.7 points, was the only other Quakers player in double figures with 15 as Penn shot a season-low 36.7 percent.
Penn will be trying to avoid a 30th consecutive loss to ranked opponent. Kentucky is seeking its 26th straight home win before opening SEC play at Georgia on Saturday.
The Wildcats, who have taken all four meetings with the Quakers, won 67-50 in the most recent matchup Nov. 17, 1999.