Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Providing the biggest upset of the early
rounds in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the 14th-seeded Harvard Crimson are back
in action on Saturday as they tangle with the sixth-seeded Arizona Wildcats in
the third round of the West Regional at EnergySolutions Arena.
Thanks to an early defensive stand and some timely 3-point baskets, the
Crimson found themselves as the latest Cinderella Story for the postseason as
they stunned third-seeded and 10th-ranked New Mexico on Thursday night by a
score of 68-62. For Harvard, it was the first win ever in the NCAA Tournament,
and the first for an Ivy League program since Cornell advanced to the Sweet 16
As for the Wildcats, a squad which is an impressive 13-3 since 1985 during the
round of the NCAA Tournament when there are 32 teams still fighting for
survival, they bounced back from their loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament
last week by thumping Belmont in the second round on Thursday by a score of
81-64. With the victory, the Wildcats are now 47-26 in this event all-time,
after taking into consideration previous decisions that had to be vacated.
In terms of the all-time series between these teams, Arizona has won both
previous matchups. The first encounter took place back in 1966 with the
Wildcats slipping by with a 59-58 victory in Tucson, and then 11 years later
host Arizona did it again, this time much more convincingly in an 83-60 final.
The winner of this contest heads to the Sweet 16 against an opponent to be
As had been the issue with the Lobos all season long, they had one of their
notorious scoring blackouts against Harvard during the first seven minutes of
their meeting on Thursday, falling behind 9-2 before finally getting a wake-up
call. Obviously, the Crimson could not count on New Mexico being inept
offensively for an entire 40 minutes, but there were enough cold spells along
the way that once the clock reached zero the Ivy squad had its biggest win in
Except for Siyani Chambers who chose to hand out seven assists instead of
focusing on his own scoring output, every starter for the Crimson landed in
double figures, beginning with Wesley Saunders who tallied 18 points. Laurent
Rivard added 17 points as he knocked down 5-of-9 shots behind the 3-point
line, Christian Webber tacked on 11 points and Kenyatta Smith logged 10 points
and seven boards before fouling out.
Playing more than 37 minutes per game as he shoots an impressive 53.8 percent
from the floor, Saunders continues to pace the Crimson in scoring with his
16.5 ppg, while Chambers augments his nearly six assists per outing with 12.6
ppg, followed by Rivard (10.6 ppg) who barely knows what it is like to attempt
a shot from inside the 3-point line these days.
Belmont has been a fixture in this tournament for several years now, but
dominating in the Atlantic Sun Conference and now the Ohio Valley is a lot
different than clashing with the likes of Arizona and the big boys of college
basketball. Granted, the Wildcats turned the ball over 16 times on Thursday,
but at the same time the squad shot 56.9 percent from the floor and 9-of-17
beyond the arc, not to mention crushing the Bruins on the glass by a massive
Mark Lyons led the way with a game-high 23 points, while Nick Johnson, Kaleb
Tarczewski and Kevin Parrom all tallied 12 points, the last two also clearing
eight rebounds apiece as the Wildcats cruised to the easy win.
Rebounding has been a key stat for Arizona all season long, beating opponents
on the glass by almost seven boards per game at this point, thanks to having a
total of four players who are pulling down at least five rebounds per game.
Tops on that list is Tarczewski with his 6.1 rpg, which fits nicely with his
Taking care of the bulk of the scoring for Arizona are Lyons (15.0 ppg),
Solomon Hill (13.3 ppg) and Johnson (11.7 ppg), each of whom has started all
33 games for head coach Sean Miller this season.
The Sports Network