15 Princeton Tigers roared at the end of the second half in their biggest March Madness loss to date, taking first place. 2 University of Arizona Wildcats, 59–55.
The Tigers struggled alongside a 9-0 draw late in the second half to come from behind and defeat the Wildcats, who were simply stunned that the last signal didn’t see them move into the NCAA Tournament.
This is Princeton’s first NCAA tournament win in 25 years; the last one was against UNLV in 1998. Tigers head coach Mitch Henderson was on that Princeton team, so the moment came full circle as his team celebrated with him on the court.
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It also continued the New Jersey trend that started last year.
St. Peter’s University of Jersey City was ranked number one. 15th seed and shocked the tournament by defeating #1 John Calipari. 2 Kentucky Wildcats. Coincidentally, the Wildcat is the same Arizona mascot.
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Arizona, winner of the Pac-12 tournament and favorite of many, including President Joe Biden, scored no points in the final game at 4:21. This gave Princeton an opportunity to capitalize, and they certainly didn’t miss it.
It was a full team effort for the Tigers as seven different players contributed to the points column. But British-born Tosan Evbuomwan, who is the team’s top scorer, scored 15 points (season average) in 36 minutes of play to take the lead.
Evbuomvan also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Blake Peters, the Tigers’ sophomore defenseman who came off the bench, had nine points and three rebounds.
It wasn’t the best basketball Princeton has ever played, which makes the loss look a lot worse for the Wildcats. The Tigers hit 4 of 25 from three-point, but Arizona themselves only hit 3 of 16.
Princeton also had a slightly better lead in the turnover department, 11 to Arizona’s 13.
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Arizona’s leading scorer, Azuolas Tubelis, had 22 points to lead the game, but failed to get in grip during a late-game drought. Princeton used double teams and a tricky defense to make sure the Wildcats didn’t hit the board.
Building on their win, Princeton will see if they can match against St. Peters, who won their second-round match as well as their Sweet 16 game.
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“Tigers” will meet with the first number. 7 Missouri Tigers on Saturday.