INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- After not facing Cincinnati in 14 years, Kentucky followed Kelenna Azubuike's lead into the regional semifinals.
Azubuike scored 19 points and led five players in double figures as second-seeded Kentucky recorded a 69-60 second-round victory over No. 7 Cincinnati in the Austin Region.
The Wildcats (27-5) reached their 11th regional semifinal in the past 14 years and will battle Utah on Friday in a rematch of the 1998 championship game won by Kentucky. The Runnin' Utes ousted Oklahoma, 67-58, earlier Saturday.
Even though Cincinnati began the game holding its opponents to a national-best 37 percent shooting from the floor, Kentucky scored the first 11 points and hit five of its first six shots to take a 14-3 lead.
"They came out making shots and we called time out to try and reinforce what we had talked about defensively," Bearcats coach Bob Huggins said. "I don't know if it was nerves or what. But once we got back to doing what we needed to do, we were OK."
Nick Williams made three 3-pointers, including a pair during a 22-8 run to close the first half, to help the Bearcats to a 35-33 edge at the break.
"When we were up 10, they really turned up the intensity and showed why they are the best defensive team in the country," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "For us to shoot over 50 percent on this team, we had to have poise and patience and be strong with the ball."
Rajon Rondo sparked a 9-2 spurt to open the second half when he made a behind-the-back pass to Azubuike for a dunk, which helped the Wildcats to open a 42-37 edge. Kentucky would never relinquish the lead.
Jihad Muhammad brought Cincinnati within 60-59 when he made a layup with 5:21 remaining, but that proved to be the Bearcats' last field goal. Chuck Hayes and Randolph Morris followed with consecutive layups as Kentucky scored nine of the game's final 10 points.
"I just think we executed our offense down the stretch." Azubuike said. "We stayed cool and calm and patient. That's what has to happen with a defensive-minded team like Cincinnati."
The Wildcats dominated inside, outscoring the Bearcats in the paint, 34-12, and held Cincinnati to 1-of-16 shooting down the stretch.
"We got tired and didn't move the ball." Huggins said. "Even with that, we still had makable shots. We just didn't make them and I think that's because they wore us down. We got in trouble because our movement wasn't good."
Rondo scored 16 points, Morris and Patrick Sparks added 11 each and Morris grabbed 11 rebounds for Kentucky, which won its 15th straight over Cincinnati.
"Our freshmen came up huge," Wildcats forward Chuck Hayes said. "Rajon and Randolph were big. Rondo came to the game energized and Randolph got nearly every rebound late in the game. He was a presence inside."
Williams scored 16 points, Muhammad had 14 and Eric Hicks 10 for the Bearcats (25-8), who failed to give coach Bob Huggins his 400th victory at the school.