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Harvard beats New Mexico in biggest upset of NCAA tournament’s first day
“Everyone was so moved by their effort, their resilience, their confidence,” Few said. “If I wasn’t coaching on the other sideline, they’d be a tough team not to root for.”
Derick Beltran made life particularly difficult on the West Coast Conference champions. He scored 21 points and blocked eight shots, while Southern made 10 3-pointers on the night.
Gonzaga’s next opponent slowly pulled away from Pitt, ending the Panthers’ season at 24-9.
Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton did such a good job shutting down Pitt’s leading scorer, Tray Woodall, that Woodall was in tears after the game. He managed only two points while the Shockers guard came up with five steals and a key 3-point basket.
At the news conference after the game, Woodall broke down and had to be comforted by teammate Dante Taylor, who wrapped an arm around his teammate’s shoulder.
“It’s a bitter taste in my mouth to end my career with one of the worst games I’ve ever played,” said Woodall, who came into the game averaging 11.8 points. “I’m sorry. I let my team down.”
Cotton, a 6-2 sophomore, hit his 3-pointer to start as 12-4 run and added a fast-break dunk to put the Shockers ahead 45-35 with 10:31 remaining. Woodall finished just 1 of 12 from the field, and 0 of 5 from 3-point range.
The game was a physical one, with players receiving an occasional elbow in the mouth or to the head.
Malcolm Armstead led Wichita State (27-8) with 22 points. Cleanthony Early added 21 and Carl Hall had 11. Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Harvard’s next opponent, Arizona, beat 11th-seeded Belmont 81-64.
Arizona (26-7) had been knocked out of the Pac-12 Conference tournament by one Bruins team — UCLA — and these Bruins, from Nashville, Tenn., were a trendy pick to upset Sean Miller’s sixth-seeded Wildcats in the NCAAs.
Instead, the Wildcats made a believer out of Belmont coach Rick Byrd. Mark Lyons scored 23 points and Arizona used its size to dominate from start to finish.
“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 thought was almost enough to wipe the smile from Crimson coach Tommy Amaker after Harvard’s big win.
“Off the top of my head, I can’t imagine any team being more talented than they are,” Amaker said of Arizona. “I’m not sure they have any weaknesses based on size, the bodies they can play up front, the guards, and their quickness, making plays off the dribble.”
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