Pitino, who compiled a 219-50 record with Kentucky from 1989-97, was wary of fan reaction for his return to Rupp Arena. Rather than enter from the tunnel with his team, he made his way to the Louisville sideline through Kentucky's entrance, avoiding a large reception from the crowd.
However, when Pitino was introduced as the coach of the Cardinals, he was booed by the Kentucky faithful.
Louisville (9-2) stayed close and got back-to-back baskets from Erik Brown to pull within 36-32 at halftime. A three-pointer by Luke Whitehead opened the second half and got the Cardinals within a point.
Kentucky (8-2) then took control with a 14-2 spurt for a 50-37 advantage with 15:14 remaining. Bogans had five points in the run, which was capped by a basket from Prince.
A free throw by freshman Chuck Hayes capped a 15-0 run that gave Kentucky its largest lead at 78-50 with less than two minutes left.
Wildcats coach Tubby Smith earned his first victory over Pitino after losing five meetings when Smith was at Georgia.