NCAA BK

UCLA beats Cincinnati 79-67 to earn Sweet 16 trip

UCLA guard Aaron Holiday, front, comes up with the ball against Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland during the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

UCLA guard Aaron Holiday, front, comes up with the ball against Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland during the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Lonzo Ball scored 19 points and ignited UCLA's rally from a poor start with nine assists, lifting the third-seeded Bruins to a 79-67 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday in the South Regional.

UCLA (31-4) had a hard time solving sixth-seeded Cincinnati's active defense in the first half, unable to get shots to drop or get out in transition. The Bruins found a new gear in the second half, breaking out for dunks and dropping in strings of 3-pointers to quickly push the lead to double digits.

Now UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons under coach Steve Alford, erasing - at least in part - the 15-17 letdown of a year ago.

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The Bruins will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Friday in Memphis.

Cincinnati (30-6) had no real answer when the Bruins got rolling falling short of their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2012.