"They were just doing whatever they wanted," Calipari said. "They were comfortable. That kid Tyler was unbelievable."
Bernardini was in vintage form with 16 points in the first half, hitting 3 of 4 from deep. He finished with 22 points.
"We just wanted to sustain that momentum," Bernardini said. "Especially on the defensive end - we were getting stops. I think that was key to our offense."
But as has been the Quakers' weakness all season, they couldn't play a consistent 40 minutes. The Wildcats (12-2) ended the half on a 12-point run, much to the delight of the raucous 21,681 fans in attendance, and led by 33-32 at the break.
"You've got to give Penn credit," Calipari said. "They came in with a game plan and they executed. If we didn't have that run at halftime, they would have beat us."
In the second half, Kentucky looked much more like a Calipari-coached Southeastern Conference powerhouse, as freshman Brandon Knight (22 points) took control.
Knight, whom Penn coach Jerome Allen called "phenomenal," finished with four assists and no turnovers. More impressively, he held Penn's leading scorer, Zack Rosen, to just six points. Monday marked just the second time that Rosen failed to hit double digits in the last 37 games.
With the strong second-half shooting from Knight, as well as classmate Doron Lamb (16 points), Kentucky finished 32 for 56 from the floor, a 57.1 percent clip.
The Wildcats also cleaned up on the boards in the second half, finishing the game with 37 rebounds - 11 from senior Josh Harrellson - to Penn's 17. Senior Jack Eggleston, who had a quiet scoring night with seven points, led Penn with four rebounds.
The Quakers' next game is a Big Five matchup at La Salle on Jan. 12.