Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball coach A.W. Hamilton is no stranger to the bright lights of Rupp Arena.

He's played there plenty of times.

While playing for Scott County, Hamilton led his team to the 1998 Sweet 16 title and came back the next year as the Cardinals finished as the state runner-up.

Tonight, Hamilton will once again find himself in the storied house of the Kentucky Wildcats -- this time as a coach.

In their second game of the season, the Colonels (1-0) will face the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

Interestingly enough, the last time EKU played a team ranked that high, it was Wildcats on Dec. 7, 2014.

The University of Kentucky mens basketball team started their season off with a hard-fought 69-62 victory over No. 1 ranked Michigan State in New York.

Hamilton is well aware of the challenges his team will face.

"It's going to be hard," the coach said with a laugh. "If we turn it over 24 times again (like they did in the season opener on Tuesday) -- it's going to be a long night for us. We can't make those turnovers or we are going to get beat by 50 points."

The Colonels did have trouble on Tuesday night with handling the ball, but collected themselves at halftime and used a 15-0 run to power past Chattanooga in their season opener.

EKU (1-0) topped the Mocs 79-68 after trailing by five points after the first half.

Last year, the Colonels were 2-14 in games in which they trailed at halftime.

Sophomore Houston King poured in a career-high 19 points on the night and was 4-of-5 from behind the three-point line.

Redshirt junior Darius Hicks -- a transfer from N.C. State -- played in his first regular-season basketball game in nearly two years on Tuesday. He responded with his first collegiate double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds).

The Colonels expressed excitement on Tuesday during a post game press conference about facing the Wildcats.

"It's a huge one for us," sophomore Jomaru Brown said of the challenge. "We are ready to get to work and see what we can do."

King said the team, which will play every Division I team in Kentucky this season, is prepared to give it their all.

"Our expectation is we go out there and do what we do. We aren't worried about the other team. If we play hard, I think we can be with anybody. We can get anybody," King said.

The Colonels are also eager to hone their skills on Friday and look at it as preparation for a demanding schedule this season.

"It is great to have that opportunity so early in the season. Its' a good challenge. I'm excited to see how we match up with them and what we can learn from it," King said.

Hamilton specifically noted how the experience will be vital for Brown, as he will likely have to go head-to-head against UK sophomore Ashton Hagans.

"(Hagans) is one of the best defenders, if not the best defender in the country. It will be good to see how he reacts and adapts," the coach said.

Kentucky (1-0) comes into tonight's game after a strong season opener against Michigan State.

Freshman Tyrese Maxey led Kentucky with 26 points in the win over the Spartans.

This will be the 13th all-time meeting between EKU and Kentucky. The Wildcats lead the series, 12-0. The last meeting between the two teams end with an 88-67 Kentucky win on Dec. 9, 2015.

EKU's Darius Hicks said the team plans to play their game and go as hard as they can.

"We are going to keep doing us. As long as we keep doing us, we will be good from there. We don't need to get away from what we do," Hicks said.

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