Recapping Kentucky's 64-51 victory over Cincinnati in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville on Saturday.
As advertised, it was physical and ugly. Cincinnati had plenty of fight but not enough firepower. The smaller Bearcats were the aggressors early and took the fight to UK, which opened the game by making one of its first nine shots. Cincinnati led 11-6. With Karl-Anthony Towns scoring eight of UK's first 10 points, the Cats finally took their first lead at 15-13. The Bearcats led 24-23 when a Willie Cauley-Stein monster jam helped trigger a 10-0 UK run to end the first half. It got more physical and chippy in the second half. Emotion overtook execution for a while as the Bearcats hung around. The Cats settled down when Aaron Harrison hit a big three-pointer and Andrew Harrison had a pair of determined drives. The Cats showed the grit and composure to pull away. 36-0!
Never miss a local story.
■ Trey Lyles gave the Cats a big lift (11 points, 11 rebounds).
■ The Cats literally took the Bearcats' best shot and did not get rattled. They responded like champs down the stretch.
■ Aaron and Andrew Harrison both made veteran, clutch plays in the second half.
■ The defense did it again. The Bearcats were 9-for-37 shooting in the second half.
■ Kentucky started slow again — not reacting well to the early physical play.
■ The Cats need to protect to the defensive glass better. Allowing 21 offensive rebounds could beat you against a team that can convert.