LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Undefeated and No. 1-ranked Kentucky’s chase for perfection continues.
The Wildcats (36-0) got 13 points from guard Aaron Harrison and limited No. 8-seeded Cincinnati to 32 percent field goal shooting in a 64-51 Midwest Region third-round victory on Saturday in the KFC Yum! Center.
Forward Trey Lyles added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, who will play either West Virginia or Maryland in the Sweet Sixteen in Cleveland.
Guard Troy Caupain led the Bearcats (23-11) with 13 points.
Kentucky shot only 37 percent from the field and was out-rebounded, 45-38, but took control of the game five minutes into the second half.
Field goals by guard Devin Booker and forward Willie Cauley-Stein extended Kentucky’s lead to 39-32 with 14:36 remaining. Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer with 11:53 to go gave the Wildcats a 42-34 advantage.
Two free throws by Lyles and Andrew Harrison’s layup with 9:26 to go pushed Kentucky’s lead to 46-35.
After struggling for almost 17 minutes, Kentucky finished the first half on a 10-0 run to lead, 31-24, through 20 minutes.
Forward Shaq Thomas’ basket gave Cincinnati a 24-21 lead with 3:34 remaining in the half before the Wildcats begin to look like the nation’s top-ranked team.
Booker’s layup with 3:13 on the clock began the 10-0 run, and then Cauley-Stein followed with a dunk and a free throw to give the Wildcats a 26-24 lead with 2:44 left.
Guard Tyler Ulis made a short jumper with 1:25 left in the half, and Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining pushed the Kentucky lead to 31-24.
The Wildcats made only 10-of-29 opening-half shots (34.5 percent), but outscored the Bearcats, 9-0, from the free throw line and out- rebounded Cincinnati, 19-15, before intermission.
Karl-Anthony Towns had eight points, and Lyles and Aaron Harrison each added six in the first half. Center Coreontae DeBerry led the Bearcats with six points.
NOTES: Kentucky is in its 112th season of basketball and remains the national leader in total victories with 2,176. … Kentucky is making its nation-leading 54th NCAA tournament appearance and has the all-time record for tournament victories with 118. … Kentucky has won 58 of its last 60 games as the nation’s No. 1 team. … Cincinnati entered the tournament ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 55.3 points per game. … The Bearcats are one of only 11 teams to appear in each of the five most recent NCAA tournaments.