2013 NCAA Tournament Recap: Arizona Sends Harvard Home

Streeter Lecka

The clock struck midnight in a big way on one of the Cinderella stories of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

By the time Solomon Hill put an exclamation point on things in the middle of the first half, Harvard's season was, for all intents and purposes, over. Hill took the ball from end to end, and drove the lane finishing with an emphatic dunk.

That made the score 30-9, and the Crimson were barely closer the rest of the way, eventually losing to Arizona, 74-51.

It was almost the reverse image of the game Harvard played against New Mexico just two days before. Sometime after the clock struck midnight on Thursday, the magic gave out. The Crimson looked more like a 16-seed being taken apart than the team that had systematically brought down the Lobos.

Almost eight minutes passed at the beginning of the game before Harvard made a basket. Meanwhile Arizona came out with a purpose -- unlike the listless Lobos -- and immediately ran the score to a comfortable margin behind the calm leadership of fifth-year senior Mark Lyons.

The Wildcat defense drew immediately on the Crimson shooters. They weren't just missing bad shots; they were missing bunnies.

This wasn't the confident Harvard team that walked into Salt Lake City. Gone was Wesley Saunders' shot (1-for-11, 8 points). Gone were the open looks for Laurent Rivard (1-for-6, 3 points).

Heck, even the tip of Siyani Chambers' tooth is gone, and he was reduced to looking like a freshman point guard by the experienced, bigger Arizona team. Chambers managed just three assists in the loss, along with six point.

Maybe the only player who looked himself was Steve Moundou-Missi, who finished with nine points and five rebounds off the bench for the Crimson. But no matter what he did, it couldn't contend with the pressure and relentless attack of Arizona.

This was the team that was in the top five in the country, the one that should have been seeded a lot higher than the 6-line in this tournament. Lyons is now headed for his second-straight Sweet 16, after shooting 12-for-17 and dishing three assists while scoring 27 points. Hill finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

If this is the Wildcat team that shows up in Los Angeles, it won't matter what team is on the opposing bench. This Arizona team will be making another trip to Atlanta after that.

Harvard doesn't have to worry about that. They will take home one of the biggest highlights of this NCAA Tournament, and unfortunately it will be overshadowed by the lowlight that followed it. This team will be back next season, that much is sure. This team will reload as if it were one of the bluebloods of college basketball, instead of a team that just won its first NCAA Tournament game 48 hours ago.

Maybe then they can recapture the magic once again.

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