Wildcats rout Crimson to reach Sweet 16
by Doug Haller, USA TODAY Sports
SALT LAKE CITY — In two games of an NCAA tournament that seems to get crazier each season, Arizona has not trailed, not even for a second. That’s not a bad way to open March Madness.
Two days after an easy opening win against Belmont, senior guard Mark Lyons matched a career high with 27 points to lead the sixth-seeded Wildcats to a 74-51 third-round win against No. 14 Harvard on Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Arizona (27-7) advances to Los Angeles, where they will face the winner of No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Iowa State in the West Region semifinals. It’s the second time in three years the Wildcats have made it to the Sweet 16.
For the second consecutive game, Lyons was the star. No, he is not a pure point guard, but what he was Saturday was the best player on the court. Through playmaking and scoring, Lyons had a hand in 32 of Arizona’s first 61 points. In two games, he shot 20 of 32 from the floor.
Senior forward Solomon Hill added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Arizona shot 55% from the field and made nine of 15 from three-point range.
Arizona’s only issue: personnel. Freshman forward Grant Jerrett injured his right elbow early in the first half and didn’t return. Senior forward Kevin Parrom and freshman Brandon Ashley then fouled out early in the second half, leaving coach Sean Miller with a short bench.
It didn’t matter. This one never was close.
Arizona jumped to a 17-2 lead and led by as many as 22 in the first half. Harvard, which entered as one of the country’s better shooting teams, missed 20 of their first 22 attempts. The Crimson, which upset No. 3 New Mexico on Thursday, warmed up in the second half, pulling to within 14 with 17 minutes to go, but Arizona pulled away.
Harvard dropped to 20-10. The Crimson shot 27.6%.
Doug Haller writes for azcentral.com, a Gannett property.