Belmont vs Arizona

Lyons, Arizona too much for 11th seed Belmont


SALT LAKE CITY -- 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.

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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 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."

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.

"I don't think it was nerves," said Clark, who started 1 of 4 from 3-point range while the Bruins were 2 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half and 8 of 27 overall. "We've always talked about being ready, being focused mentally. Shots weren't falling early. When that happens early and they're making shots, it's human nature to get down, team-wise. We tried to pick it back up, but to their credit, they were making shots and their guys were making plays."

While Clark's numbers were off-the-charts before the game, Arizona's rebounding edge was head-turning.

Miller isn't sure he's seen Arizona dominate so thoroughly in that category, with Kaleb Tarczewski and Kevin Parrom grabbing eight boards apiece, Brandon Ashley hauling in seven and Grant Jarrett six.

"The one thing about our team that's deceptive is we're bigger and more physical than we get credit for," Miller said. "Kaleb Tarczewski has developed. He's not the same player in March as he once was. And we're physical on the wings with Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom. Those guys not only are 6-6 but they are physical strong [seniors]."

Add in 6-foot-10 freshman Jarrett and 6-8 freshman Ashley, and the Wildcats are a load.

"The key for us is to utilize that length where we have an advantage rebounding and defensively on offense where we can get in and around the rim tonight and get fouls and score," Miller said.

Byrd, meanwhile, took some of the blame for not being able to adjust.

He said he expected Tarczewski (5 of 5 for 12 points) to struggle going back to cover a 3-point shooter such as Trevor Noack after helping on a ball screen. But Miller chose not to make Tarczewski do that.

"Instead he guarded Blake (Jenkins) and then we really couldn't get the offense that I thought we could," Byrd said. "It took me too darn long to find something that would work."

Nothing seemingly worked on senior guard Lyons, who drove the lane, hit 3s, and put an exclamation point on his night with a put-back dunk that gave Arizona an 80-64 lead with 1:22 left.

"I think Belmont's strategy was to pressure our perimeter, probably to prevent us from throwing it inside and they really got extended," Miller said. "We tried to put Mark in position to use the ball screen with the court wide open and he took advantage of it."

Arizona led by as many as 21 points, 64-43, with 7:45 remaining before Belmont went on a 10-0 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Clark and J.J. Mann. The 3s came just seven seconds apart as Mann stole the inbounds pass.

But Parrom (12 points) countered with a driving layup and Hill hit another 3-pointer -Arizona's eighth - to bump the Wildcats' lead back to 15 points, 69-54, with 4:29 left.

The breakthrough so many thought would happen for Belmont didn't, and the Bruins (26-7) fell to 0-6 in tourney games.

Miller wouldn't call it a sense of relief.

"We have high expectations and when you're ranked from start to finish like we've been and sometimes you lose games, people on the outside can get down on you," Miller said. "Some of the best teams in Arizona's history got hot right now. ... But going from the second round to the Sweet 16 is a whole new level. It's much more difficult."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Belmont #11 204464
Arizona #6 «324981
BELMONT:K. Johnson 22 Pts
BELMONT:T. Noack 4 Reb
BELMONT:K. Johnson 3 Ast
ARIZ:M. Lyons 23 Pts
ARIZ:K. Parrom 8 Reb
ARIZ:N. Johnson 5 Ast

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Kerron Johnson
Mark Lyons
Belmont Bruins
I. Clark, G358-142-310221
K. Johnson, G356-128-1023222
J. Mann, G-F354-92-231013
B. Jenkins, F302-62-21136
T. Noack, F190-30-24040
R. Chamberlain, G270-51-22241
B. Baker, F110-11-22051
C. Bradshaw, G40-00-00000
C. Lang, C10-00-00000
H. Mobley, G-F10-10-00000
S. Turner, G10-00-00000
J. Laidig, G10-00-00000
A. Barnes, GDid Not Play
D. Windler, FDid Not Play
C. Chowbay, GDid Not Play
Totals 20-5116-231572064
Arizona Wildcats
M. Lyons, G348-154-541323
K. Parrom, G-F303-55-783212
N. Johnson, G304-93-535212
S. Hill, F293-50-04139
K. Tarczewski, C205-52-381512
B. Ashley, F223-70-07126
G. Jerrett, F182-40-06024
J. Mayes, G161-10-02123
M. Wiepking, F10-00-00000
T. McConnell, GDid Not Play
A. Chol, FDid Not Play
Q. Crawford, GDid Not Play
D. Mellon, FDid Not Play
J. Hazzard, GDid Not Play
M. Korcheck, FDid Not Play
G. York, GDid Not Play
Totals 29-5114-2042132181
Ohio Valley
EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Jax. State0-07-3146
Tenn. Tech0-07-4119
Tenn. St.0-05-4220
Eastern Ky.0-05-6284
Morehead St.0-03-6254
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Murray St.0-06-2123
SE Missouri St.0-06-4250
Austin Peay0-04-5265
UT Martin0-03-7316
Eastern Ill.0-02-6289

Pac 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Arizona St.0-09-03
Oregon St.0-07-3177
Wash. State0-06-3137
Other games
VALPO 54 Final
BUCK 56 Final
WICH 73 Final
NMST 44 Final
STL 64
STMA 52 Final
DAVID 58 Final
MU 59
SOU 58 Final
ORE 68 Final
NCAT 48 Final
LOU 79
SDAST 56 Final
CAL 64 Final
MIZZ 72 Final
CSU 84
AKR 42 Final
VCU 88
HARV 68 Final
MTST 34 Final
SYR 81