Originally written on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 3/28/13
The presence of the fifth-year senior in college basketball is becoming more and more of an entity as  we are seeing kids who earn their bachelor’s degree in four years use that fifth year and in most cases, it lends a key cog to the development of a team.  Arizona guard Mark Lyons had a stellar career at Xavier where he helped lead the Musketeers into the Sweet 16 the last two years.  Now, after Arizona beat Belmont and destroyed Harvard, Lyons in on the same path with the Wildcats who play Ohio State in Los Angeles in the West regional on Friday night. Arizona coach Sean Miller has to applaud the play of fifth-year senior Mark Lyons, who came over from Xavier. Credit: Luke Adams, Arizona Athletics Photography “I think it’s remarkable, really, it shows you how talented he is and it also shows you the bigger the game, to me, can really bring out the best in him,” said Wildcats coach Sean Miller. Lyons’ experience in grasping the stage was on display last weekend as he scored 23 in the win over Belmont and then followed that with a 27-point effort on 12-of-17 shooting in the 74-51 victory against the Crimson. He scored the Wildcats’ first 11 points in the second half as they extended their halftime lead to 51-33 as Lyons displayed his myriad of shot-making abilities. “Mark is filled with confidence and when he gets his confidence going it’s contagious on our entire team,” noted Miller, “He’s been in the tournament and there is no game he hasn’t really played in other than an Elite Eight or Final Four.” Lyons in a glue-type players as the nation found out when he was with the Musketeers.  He has never been afraid of the clutch shot or the key play to sway the momentum in a contest.  Lyons noted the team concept that Arizona has used throughout the Pac-12 and into last week’s NCAA Tournament as he made 20-of-35 shots in averaging 25 ppg.  in capping such a monumental weekend to put the Wildcats back into the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years. “Honestly, you know, today my teammates got me great shots,” said Lyons, “It wasn’t individual plays that got me shots and things like that.  It was drive and kicks, back screens, back screen lobs, and Jordin (Mayes) throwing the pass and great screens from Solomon (Hill).  My teammates got me the ball in the right position, and I was able to make shots today. Lyons referencing Hill and Mayes tells you plenty about his perception of the basketball team.  These three Wildcats are the only seniors playing appreciable minutes and even though Lyons has played such a key role, he still defers the major share of credit to Hill and Mayes.  His team-first attitude could be a huge variable if the Wildcats are able to advance out of Los Angeles and into next weekend’s Final Four. “I’m playing for my original coach who recruited me, playing with a bunch of guys who believe in me and got faith in me, and we’ve been coming together as a team,” commented Lyones, “It’s great to be back in the Sweet 16 and trying to advance.” - Ken Cross     Related Posts:Lyons rejoins Miller for tango in TucsonNo panicking in Tucson: Wildcats are still a major entityHigh Five: Pac-12 coaches weigh in on various issuesHigh Five: Best chances for upsets in Round OnePAC-12 Notebook: Arizona’s Success largely in…
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