By Steve Ginsburg

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Kentucky took a bold step toward winning its first national basketball championship since 1998 by defeating bitter intrastate rival Louisville 69-61 in the semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at the Superdome.

Louisville (30-10) overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and tied the score at 49-49 on a three-point bomb by junior guard Peyton Siva with just over nine minutes left.

But Kentucky reserve guard Darius Miller scored five points in an 11-2 surge that gave the Wildcats a 60-51 lead with 4:29 remaining to put the game on ice.

Freshman forward Anthony Davis, the consensus player of the year in college basketball, led the Wildcats with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Louisville, which shot only 34.8 percent from the floor, was paced by Siva's 11 points.

(Reporting By Steve Ginsburg)