Mark Lyons scored 23 points and the sixth-seeded Wildcats used their size to overpower the Bruins.
SALT LAKE CITY — Arizona coach Sean Miller can understand why Belmont was a trendy pick to upset his sixth-seeded Wildcats.
“Their style is such a nightmare,” Miller said of the Bruins, whose great backcourt produces a lot of three-pointers and makes a lot of steals.
Instead, the Wildcats proved a major headache for Belmont and coach Rick Byrd.
Mark Lyons scored 23 points and Arizona used its size to dominate in an 81-64 second-round NCAA tournament victory Thursday night. Arizona (26-7) faces surprising Harvard on Saturday.
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“I was more impressed with the team I saw tonight than I was scouting them,” Byrd acknowledged afterward. “I thought they were more engaged and focused and I think if they play that way, they can beat a lot of people.”
The Wildcats held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint and blocked five shots. Arizona shot 57 percent overall and made 9 of 17 three-point attempts, including one from Solomon Hill with 4:40 left to stop an 11-2 Belmont run. Kerron Johnson scored 22 and Ian Clark 21 for Belmont (26-7).
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62
In Salt Lake City, Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard 17 to help 14th-seeded Harvard (20-9) pull off the biggest upset of the tournament so far, beating No. 3 seed New Mexico (29-6).
The Ivy League advanced in the tournament for the first time since 2010, when Cornell made the regional semifinals. It was Harvard’s first NCAA tourney win.
Alex Kirk scored 22 for the Lobos, a popular pick to make the Final Four. Instead, they still haven’t made it out of the first weekend since 1974.
The Mountain West Conference, judged one of the top two leagues in college basketball all season, fell to 1-3 so far this week.