Princeton stuns Arizona 59-55 in March Madness
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ryan Langborg lifted Princeton to its first lead with 2:03 to play and the Tigers used a late-game run to earn their first NCAA Tournament win in 25 years, topping No. 2 seed Arizona 59-55 on Thursday.
The 15th-seeded Tigers (22-9) scored the final nine points, holding the Pac-12 Tournament champion scoreless over the final 4:43.
Tosan Evbuomwan scored 15 points in Princeton’s first tournament victory since beating UNLV in 1998 when current coach Mitch Henderson was a player for the Tigers.
Princeton advanced to play seventh-seeded Missouri in the second round of the South Region. The Tigers beat Utah State 76-65.
Azuolas Tubelis scored 21 points for the Wildcats (28-7), who haven’t won a tournament game in consecutive years since 2014-15.
It marked the third straight year and 11th time overall that a No. 15 seed won a first-round game. Arizona is the only school to be on the wrong end of one of those upsets twice, also losing to Steve Nash and Santa Clara in 1993.
The Wildcats seemed in control of this one when Oumar Ballo’s basket put them up 10 with eight minutes left.
But the Tigers responded with seven straight points, capped by a second-chance 3-pointer from Blake Peters that made it 51-48 with about six minutes left.
They closed the game with a 9-0 run — just like they did in their most memorable tournament win against defending champion UCLA in 1996 when Henderson was also on the team.
Keeshawn Kellman started the spurt with a putback dunk before Langborg hit a jumper and then a layup to give the Tigers the lead.
The Wildcats then missed all five shots down the stretch and Princeton put it away at the foul line.
Courtney Ramey, who hit a game-winning shot in the Pac-12 Tournament, missed a contested 3-pointer with 14 seconds left that could have tied the game. Kerr Kriisa also missed from long range after an offensive rebound, sending Princeton into an early celebration.
Princeton: The Tigers gave the Ivy League its first tournament win since 2016 when Yale beat Baylor. The conference had been one-and-done the last four trips, having missed the 2021 edition because of COVID-19.
Arizona: The Wildcats got little help offensively outside of Tubelis and Ballo, who combined for 35 points. The rest of the team shot 9 for 27.
Princeton will look to win two games in the tournament for the first time since 1983.
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