Arizona rolls past Harvard to advance to Sweet 16
Harvard provided the 2013 NCAA tournament with its first shocking upset when the 14th-seeded Crimson toppled the No. 3 seed New Mexico Lobos in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
From the outset of Saturday's third-round game against Arizona, it was clear Harvard didn't have enough magic left in the tank to make it to the Sweet 16 as Arizona rolled to a 74-51 win at Energy Solutions Arena.
[Related Arizona-Harvard highlights via NCAA.com]
Arizona has yet to trail in the NCAA tournament and the sixth-seeded Wildcats were never in danger on Saturday. They opened the game on a 20-5 run and held the Crimson without a field goal for the first seven minutes.
Just as they did against Belmont in the second round, the Wildcats took advantage of their opponents' slow start and motored to a double-digit lead in transition.
Freshman forward Grant Jerett left with a right elbow injury early in the first half and fellow freshman Brandon Ashley fouled out early in the second, but Arizona still owned the rebounding advantage 39-31 to fuel its fast breaks.
“I think we had a bigger team, so controlling the boards and limiting them on second shots really controlled the game,” senior forward Solomon Hill said.
Redshirt senior guard Mark Lyons stole the show with 27 points on 12-for-17 shooting from the field.
“My teammates got me the ball in the right position, and I was able to make shots today,” Lyons said.
Lyons now becomes the first player to head to the Sweet 16 with two different schools in back-to-back seasons. He helped Xavier get there a season ago averaging 15.1 points per game, but was allowed to transfer to Arizona and play immediately as a graduate student. Although coach Sean Miller – headed to his fourth Sweet 16 – recruited Lyons to Xavier, this is the first time they'll play in a regional together.
“It's a great feeling,” Lyons said. “I'm playing for my original coach who recruited me, playing with a bunch of guys who believe in me and got faith in me; we've been coming together as a team. It's great to be back in the Sweet 16.”
Arizona will head to Los Angeles' Staples Center to await the winner of Sunday's game between No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 10 seed Iowa State. It will serve as a homecoming of sorts for nearly half of Arizona's roster - seven of the 16 Wildcats hail from Southern California.
“It's always great to play close to Tucson,” said Hill, a Los Angeles native. “It's a place where our fans can travel and it's LA, so people will want to go out there.”