The Wildcats never trailed, but struggled to gain separation from the pesky Pride until a 12-0 run sent them into halftime with a comfortable 15-point lead.
Kentucky carried the momentum into the second half, opening with a 14-3 spurt to erase any thoughts of a Hofstra upset and pulling away for a 96-73 win at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Freshman guard Malik Monk scored 20 points and sophomore backcourt mate Isaiah Briscoe added 19 to lead the Cats. De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo followed with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Derek Willis added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds for Kentucky (9-1).
"We’re young, and we show it,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “We’re talented. We do some good things in stretches and then we do some bad things in stretches... I’m worried, and we still have some players that aren’t playing with the confidence they have to play with. I’m not sure what it is about them."
The Cats shot 51.4 percent from the field and dished out 20 assists on 37 made baskets. That efficiency helped offset a strong rebounding performance by Hofstra, which held a 45-41 advantage on the glass and scored 24 second-chance points.
UK's defense was typically stout, holding the Pride to 33.8 percent shooting from the field and forcing 14 turnovers that led to 23 points.
Guard Deron Powers had 18 points to lead Hofstra (6-5).
Kentucky returns to action Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a rivalry matchup against North Carolina. The game will be televised on CBS at 5:45 p.m. ET. The Tar Heels edged Tennessee 73-71 on Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C.