Cats Crush Crimson

Arizona Ends Harvard’s Dream Season

Harvard's Siyani Chambers (1) and Arizona's Mark Lyons (2) reach for a loose ball in the first half during a third-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Harvard's Siyani Chambers (1) and Arizona's Mark Lyons (2) reach for a loose ball in the first half during a third-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Salt Lake City — For Arizona, it’s on to Los Angeles.

And for Harvard — well, it’s time to head back to class.

Clearly unfazed by their Ivy League opponent’s plucky brand of Smartball, the Wildcats showed how a real basketball school does it yesterday. Mark Lyons matched his career high with 27 points in Arizona’s wire-to-wire 74-51 blowout of the Crimson.

Claremont native Kaleb Tarczewski had seven points for the Wildcats.

No. 6 seed Arizona’s next stop in the NCAA tournament is southern California, where the Wildcats will make their 15th appearance in the regional semifinals. They’ll play the winner of today’s game between Ohio State and Iowa State.

The day for No. 14 Harvard (20-10) was best summed up early in the second half when point guard Siyani Chambers took an elbow to the mouth from Kevin Parrom, who chipped off part of Chambers’ front tooth. Officials stopped play and Chambers’ teammate, Christian Webster, walked over, bent down and picked up the tooth fragment off the floor.

That felt nothing like Thursday, when Harvard pulled off an upset over a physically imposing New Mexico team — a stunner that riled up the Harvard twitterrati and sparked dreams of nets somehow being cut down with a slide rule.

Yes, Tommy Amaker’s program could be redefining what’s possible in the Ivy League.

But Arizona (27-7), a team that hasn’t lost to an opponent outside of the Pac-12 this season, had too much height, too much speed, too much talent to be slowed by this Harvard team.

It was over early and a couple vignettes told the story.

Forward Solomon Hill (13 points, 10 rebounds) spotted up for a 3-pointer, drained it, then looped his fingers over his eyes — the 3-point goggles — right by the Harvard bench, in Amaker’s face. On Harvard’s next possession, Hill rebounded a missed shot, took the ball coast to coast and jammed with both hands, then bumped chests violently with Parrom.

Moments later, Lyons made a backdoor cut and took an alley-oop pass from Brandon Ashley for an easy layup.

Bad enough that happens to a defense once in a game. But on the next possession, Lyons and Ashley combined for an absolute carbon-copy of the same play.

Harvard shot 52 percent against New Mexico and would clearly need a repeat to keep this run going. The Crimson missed 20 of its first 22 shots for 9.1 percent. By that time, Arizona was up 30-9.

Remember Laurent Rivard, the Canadian guard who made five 3-pointers in Harvard’s win to go with the six he made last year in the program’s first appearance in the NCAAs since 1946? He shot 1-for-6 yesterday, missing two early, then shooting two airballs in the second half. He finished with three points. Credit most of that to Parrom’s blanket defense.

Chambers, the Harvard freshman, will have his own special memory of Arizona’s senior guard.

The freshman was trying to make a jump pass, when Parrom left his feet, as well, to block it. His elbow bashed Chambers’ lip and he grimaced in pain. Helped off the floor with the tooth in hand, he was wincing on the bench, where TV cameras caught a clear shot of his newly jagged right front tooth.

Chambers came back shortly after and made a 3. He finished with six points.

Kenyatta Smith, Harvard’s tallest player at 6-foot-8, led the Crimson with 10 points. Harvard finished the game shooting 27 percent overall and from 3-point range.

Arizona made 55 percent of its shots.