SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Arizona coach Sean Miller can understand why Belmont was the trendy pick to upset his sixth-seeded Wildcats.
“Their style is such a nightmare,” Miller said of a great backcourt that has the ability to hit the 3 and make a lot of steals.
Instead, the Wildcats proved a major headache for the Bruins 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.
“I was more impressed with 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.”
Arizona moves on to face 14th-seeded Harvard, which upset New Mexico.
The Wildcats (26-7) held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint, blocked five shots and outshot the Bruins from 3-point range. Arizona made 9 of 17 3-pointers, including a critical one from Solomon Hill with 4:40 remaining to stop an 11-2 Belmont run, and shot 57 percent overall.
Hill ended up making as many 3s as Ian Clark, who entered the game shooting better than 46 percent for Belmont but was 3 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Credit goes to Nick Johnson and Jordin Mayes, who made Clark earn every one of his 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Kerron Johnson led Belmont with 22 points.