The Wildcats (2-0) got a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds from freshman forward P.J. Washington. Kentucky also got 16 points from freshman guard Hamidou Diallo, 15 from freshman guard Quade Green and 11 from freshman forward Kevin Knox.
Vermont (0-1) was led by senior guard Trae Bell-Haynes with 16 points. Sophomore forward Anthony Lamb added 15.
Kentucky managed to build a 12-point lead at halftime, 36-24, thanks to 13 points from Diallo. The margin grew to 14 points early in the second half before Vermont slowly chipped away. But the Catamounts never got closer than three points inside the final minute.
Kentucky, playing three games in five days, now travels to Chicago to face No. 4 Kansas in the Champions Classic. No. 1 Duke meets No. 2 Michigan State in the other game of the doubleheader.
NOTES: Last season, Vermont became the first team in the 38-year history of the America East conference to finish league play undefeated. The 29 wins were a school record ... Coach John Calipari won his 250th game at Kentucky in Friday's season opener against Utah Valley and now stands four wins shy of 700 career wins ... When the NBA season started recently, 27 former Kentucky players were on opening-day rosters, most of all colleges. Duke was second with 20.