AT WELLS FARGO CENTER IN PHILADELPHIA
PHILADELPHIA (August 31, 2023) – Tickets for the Kentucky-Penn game on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Wells Fargo Center, home to the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, go on public sale on Thursday, Sept. 7, event-promoter bdG Sports announced Thursday. The game tips at noon ET and will be televised on ESPN2.
The game in Philadelphia serves as a homecoming game for some of the members of Kentucky’s top-ranked recruiting class. Justin Edwards is a Philadelphia native while D.J. Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw hail from Camden, New Jersey, a short jaunt across the Delaware River from downtown Philadelphia. Senior Kareem Watkins also calls Camden home and two Wildcats – sophomore Adou Thiero and graduate transfer Tre Mitchell – are from the Pittsburgh area.
“Having the chance to play in a sports-crazed city like Philadelphia and against one of the all-time winningest programs in college basketball is a tremendous opportunity for our program and our fans,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve played in the Philly area, so I’m excited for D.J., Aaron, Justin and Kareem to be able to play close to home.”
Last season, Edwards’ high school team, Imhotep, which was ranked No. 6 in the nation, played host to No. 11-ranked Camden High featuring Wagner and Bradshaw, at St. Joseph’s University. Wagner took over the game late, scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead his team to a 60-57 win in front of a sold-out Hagan Arena.
In addition to its core of great freshmen on the roster, Kentucky returns senior Antonio Reeves, who averaged 14.4 points per game a season ago and wasnamed the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year. The Cats also added Mitchell, a grad transfer from West Virginia, and late this summer, completed their roster with the addition of Zvonimir Ivisic, a 7-2 forward from Croatia.
For Penn, the game offers a rare opportunity to play a Power-5 opponent in its backyard. Outside of Big 5 play, the Quakers’ last such game was an 89-75 win over Miami in 2018 at the Palestra. Penn returns three starters from last season’s squad which finished 17-13 and one game back of the Ivy League leaders.
“We love to put our guys in a position to make memories, and this game at Wells Fargo Center—our second in as many weekends at that venue—against the NCAA’s second-winningest program will certainly do that,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue said. “We are happy to welcome Coach Calipari back to the Keystone State, and of course we expect a great crowd with so many local players on both rosters. We are giving our team the chance to write an indelible chapter in Penn’s incredible men’s basketball history this season, and this game can certainly help them make their mark.”
Kentucky and Penn have played five times, most recently in 2011, with the Wildcats leading the series 5-0. UK last played in Philadelphia in 2006 in the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds.
One of college basketball’s foremost event promoters, bdG Sports has worked closely with Kentucky in the past taking the Wildcats to both Las Vegas (to play Utah in 2019) and The Bahamas (Big Blue Bahamas foreign tour in 2022).
“It’s always a privilege for us to work with Coach Calipari and his staff at Kentucky,” said Brooks Downing, founder and CEO of bdG Sports. “This game is a great opportunity for both UK fans in the northeast and supporters of the Kentucky freshmen from the area to see the Cats play. And for Penn fans, this is a great opportunity to catch a college basketball blueblood on a neutral court in their hometown.”
Tickets for the game start at $25 and go on public sale on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. ET at Ticketmaster.com and on the Ticketmaster app. Complete event information can be found atwww.PhilaChallenge.com and on social media at @bdGlobalSports.com.