LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Kentucky's second century of basketball opened like so many of the first 100 years.
Erik Daniels led a balanced attack with 15 points as the ninth-ranked Wildcats cruised to a season-opening 65-44 victory over Winthrop.
Kentucky improved to 86-15 all-time in season openers, including a 25-3 mark in openers at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats built a 32-21 halftime advantage and coasted.
"I am glad to get the first game out of the way and get the season off to a good start," Daniels said.
Chuck Hayes and Gerald Fitch each netted 12 points for Kentucky, which lost leading scorer Keith Bogans to graduation. The Wildcats also lost key members Jules Camara and Marquis Estill from a team that went 16-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
Winthrop fell to 0-11 against SEC foes. The Eagles have averaged nearly 20 wins a season over the last five campaigns but were no match for the more athletic Wildcats.
"They obviously did the things they needed to do to win the game," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "It was a game where we played hard, but we didn't take care of the basketball like we should."
The Wildcats were sloppy with 24 turnovers but took advantage of 29 miscues by the Eagles for 26 points. Fitch came up with four steals and Cliff Hawkins handed out seven assists.
"We were just excited," Hayes said. "Once we play and have more games under our belt and everybody everyone gets their roles, it will get better."
Kentucky ripped off 11 straight points for a 13-5 lead on Brandon Stockton's 3-pointer - his only basket of the game - with just over 14 minutes to go before halftime. The Wildcats led by as many as 26 points in the second half.
The game marked the debuts of Kentucky freshmen centers Shagari Alleyne and Lukasz Obrut. The 7-3 Alleyne had one point and two rebounds in 12 minutes and Obrut logged nine scoreless minutes.
"I thought Shagari did a good job of altering some shots, and I'm pleased with the way our big guys are developing," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.
The Eagles shot just under 30 percent (14-of-47) and had no player score in double figures.