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NCAA tournament: Arizona puts an end to Harvard's Cinderella season

Published: Saturday, March 23 2013 8:30 p.m. MDT

Arizona's Solomon Hill spins around Harvard's Wesley Saunders Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Arizona's Solomon Hill spins around Harvard's Wesley Saunders Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Cinderella got sent home early from the Big Dance.

And instead of a kiss goodnight, she got smacked in the mouth and wound up with a broken tooth.

Harvard University's Cinderella run in this year's NCAA tournament ended abruptly Saturday evening, as the University of Arizona slammed the book shut on the Crimson's fairy-tale season with a not-so-happy ending, 74-51, in a West Regional matchup at EnergySolutions Arena.

"We came into this tournament cornered, hungry and ready to do something," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "... We have high expectations as a team and as a program. That's why you want to be at Arizona because you have everything you need to be the most successful you can be."

Well, it certainly looked that way this week after the Wildcats whipped their first two NCAA opponents by a combined 40 points.

Harvard's Kenyatta Smith tries to get past Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Harvard's Kenyatta Smith tries to get past Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Harvard started Saturday's game by going 0 for 12 from the field against Arizona's impenetrable defense, and when the Wildcats went on an early 12-0 run to open up a 15-point lead at 17-2, it was time for Cinderella to essentially start packing her bags for the long trip home.

The glass slipper, it seems, no longer fit.

"They pounced on us from the beginning," said Harvard guard Christian Webster, the Crimson's lone senior. "I think it took us by surprise how hard they played, how physical they were ... their length and size and speed. From there, it was just an uphill battle."

And one which, on this night, Cinderella was never going to see midnight or Prince Charming.

Arizona senior guard Mark Lyons poured in 27 points on some slick 12-of-27 shooting from the field, and senior forward Solomon Hill had 13 ponts and 10 rebounds as the Wildcats (27-7) reached the Sweet 16 after missing out on March Madness a year ago.

Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski shoots over Harvard's Kenyatta Smith as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski shoots over Harvard's Kenyatta Smith as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

"Honestly, you know, today my teammates got me great shots," said Lyons, who had his second straight strong performance after scoring 23 points in Thursday's win over Belmont. "... My teammates got me the ball in the right position, and I was able to make shots today."

Kaleb Tarczewski, Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes and Brandon Ashley combined for 28 points and 23 rebounds as Arizona, which led by 18 at halftime, never allowed Harvard to get closer than 14 points in the second half.

Coach Miller gave Lyons much of the credit for setting the tone for his team in Saturday's lopsided victory over the Ivy League champions.

"Mark is filled with confidence, and when he gets his confidence going, it's contagious on our entire team," Miller said. " ... It shows you how talented he is and it also shows you the bigger the game, to me, can really bring out the best in him.

Harvard's Head Coach Tommy Amaker talks with Siyani Chambers as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Harvard's Head Coach Tommy Amaker talks with Siyani Chambers as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

"When the chips are down, end of games, big games, he's ready. He doesn't give you that nervous energy; he gives you just the opposite — a confidence that I believe has become contagious on our team."

Kenyatta Smith was Harvard's only player in double figures with 10 points, while Steve Moundou-Missi scored nine and Christian Webster and Wesley Saunders each scored eight for the Crimson (20-10). Point guard Siyani Chambers, who broke his front tooth in the first minute of the second half, had six points.

"They were tremendous on defense, their rotations, their size," Chambers said of Arizona. "Their length was a problem tonight, but give all the credit to them. They played a great game and they played great defense."

But Laurent Rivard, who went 5 of 9 from 3-point range in Harvard's opening upset of New Mexico, went just 1 of 6 this time and wound up with just three points.

Arizona's Mark Lyons drives in for a lay-up as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Arizona's Mark Lyons drives in for a lay-up as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013 in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

"We accomplished all our goals this year. We have nothing to be ashamed of," Webster said. "We're going out with our heads held high and that's what really matters."

Even if the Wildcats transformed the Crimson's golden carriage back into a pumpkin Saturday night.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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