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Arizona 74, Harvard 51

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mark Lyons scored 27 points and No. 6 Arizona jumped all over No. 14 Harvard from the opening tipoff as the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 74-51 third-round win Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Wildcats showed early on that they weren't about to be the victim of an upset, using their athleticism and height advantage to take an early double-digit lead that they never relinquished.

With strong wins over Belmont and the Ivy League school in hand, Arizona (27-7) advanced to play either Iowa State or Ohio State on Thursday in Los Angeles. The Wildcats, who missed out on the tournament last year, find themselves one win from returning to the Elite Eight, where they fell to Connecticut 65-63 in 2011.

Lyons provided an offensive punch in both halves for Arizona. He hit 12 of 17 shots, including five in a row after Harvard pulled within 14 during a brief spark in the second half.

Solomon Hill was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 12 of his 13 points in the first half when Arizona quickly established a large lead against the upset-minded Crimson.

Harvard's blowout loss came two days after the 14th-seeded Crimson (20-10) pulled off the first big upset of the tournament with a 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico.

Kenyatta Smith (10 points) was the only Harvard player to score in double figures Saturday. Steve Moundou-Missi came off the bench for nine points, all in the first half.

The Crimson's stars against New Mexico all struggled.

Wesley Saunders missed 10 of 11 shots and scored only eight points after tallying 19 against the Lobos. Laurent Rivard missed 5 of 6 shots and had just three points two days after his spunky 17-point outing.

Overall, Harvard shot a miserable 27.6 percent from the field. Arizona connected on 55.1 percent, including a 9-for-15 3-point showing.

From the tipoff, Harvard looked nothing like the composed team that rattled No. 3 New Mexico on Thursday.

Hill hit a jumper 16 seconds into the game, and that proved to be the beginning of the end for the Crimson.

Harvard missed its first 13 shots, including four layups, four 3-pointers and five from mid-range.

Center Kenyatta Smith hit two free throws at the 17:29 mark, when the Wildcats' lead was only 5-2, but Harvard went more than five minutes before scoring again.

Point guard Siyani Chambers finally hit a basket for the Crimson -- seven minutes and 43 seconds into the ballgame.

By that point, Hill, Lyons, Brandon Ashley and Kevin Parrom had already made field goals for Arizona, which had a double-digit lead for good less than six minutes in.

Arizona led by as many as 22 points in the opening half; the Wildcats shot 58.3 percent compared to Harvard's 25 percent. Hill (12 points) and Lyons (11 points) outscored the entire Crimson crew in the first 20 minutes.

NOTES: Center Kaleb Tarczewski plays for Arizona but is no stranger to Harvard. The freshman grew up in New England and graduated from St. Mark's School in Southborough, Mass. That, by the way, is also where Harvard's Laurent Rivard played prep ball. "But," Arizona coach Sean Miller joked, "Kaleb probably didn't want to study 15 hours a day to compete at the Ivy League." ... Arizona has a good overall record in NCAA games in Salt Lake City (7-2). The Wildcats' two losses were big ones, having fallen as a No. 1 seed in 2000 and No. 2 in 1993. ... These teams last met in 1966: Arizona 59, Harvard 58.
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