SACRAMENTO—The No. 3 seed UCLA Bruins woke up from a sluggish start against the No. 6 seeded Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday, March 19, as the Bruins advanced to the Sweet 16, defeating Cincinnati 79-67.
The victory punched the Bruins ticket to the Sweet 16, where they will face another legendary NCAA hard court juggernaut in the No. 2 seeded Kentucky Wildcats on Friday, March 24 in Memphis Tennessee. UCLA beat Kentucky earlier this season on the road at Jo Rupp Arena.
Now, UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons. The Bruins trailed 33-30 at halftime; their offense screeched to a halt as the Bearcats aggressive defense held UCLA in check. Cincinnati was led by Jarron Cumberland, who scored 15 points. Although the Bearcats shot a season high 62 percent from the field, the Bruins defense was stout blocking critical shots down the stretch.
Lonzo Ball, the UCLA Freshman phenomenon and point guard controlled the game in the second half. Ball turned in a masterpiece: 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Furthermore, the Bruins shot 64 percent overall, and are 7-for-13 on threes and have 13 assists on 18 field goals.
The game was billed as a matchup of offense vs defense. The Bruins are the highest ranked offense in college basketball, averaging 91 points per game, whereas Cincinnati is the fifth ranked defense.
UCLA vs Kentucky, can’t wait for tipoff!