Mitch Henderson’s victory leap that punctuated Princeton’s famed upset over UCLA in 1996 has become an iconic moment. There is a picture of the joyous jump at the school’s practice facility that serves as a constant reminder of what’s possible.
Now Henderson’s current players have authored one of their own.
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 at Sacramento.
“Pretty surreal feeling,” guard Matt Allocco said. “To beat a great team like that on this stage is a pretty special feeling. But also I can’t say I’m surprised. This team has been so good all year, so gritty. On paper, it’s going to look like a big upset. But we believe in each other and we think we’re a really good team. When we’re at our best, then I think we can beat anybody in the country.”
The 15th-seeded Tigers (22-9) scored the final 9 points, holding the Pac-12 Tournament champion scoreless over the final 4:43.
PRINCETON KNOCKS OFF 2-SEED ARIZONA 🤯#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/U9XHuN41ON— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 16, 2023
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 (25-9) in the second round of the South Region. The Tigers beat Utah State, 76-65, behind a second-half scoring spurt from Kobe Brown (19 points), who hit three 3-pointers in just over three minutes to fuel a 13-2 run that turned a 2-point deficit into a 62-53 lead.
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 7 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 ru 13 seed Furman sends Virginia packing
Five years to the day after losing as a No. 1 seed to 16th-seeded UMBC, Virginia was eliminated in the first round as the higher-seeded team again Thursday — this time, falling, 68-67, to 13th-seeded Furman at Orlando.
JP Pegues made a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining, and the Paladins (28-7) completed a rally from a 12-point second-half deficit to hand fourth-seeded Virginia another first-roundloss.
Making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 43 years, Furman advanced to the second round in the South Region with Jalen Slawson finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Slawson scored 9 consecutive points to turn a 54-48 deficit into Furman’s first lead, 57-54, with 5:02 to go.
The Cavaliers (25-8), eliminated in the first round as the higher-seeded team for the third time in their past four NCAA tournaments were led by Kadin Shedrick’s 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Furman will play fifth-seeded San Diego State on Saturday. Matt Bradley scored 17 points and made play after play down the stretch, including hitting two free throws in the final minute as the Aztecs (28-6) held on for a 63-57 win over 12th-seeded College of Charleston (31-4).
Miller scoreless, but Alabama rolls
Alabama buried Texas A&M-Corpus Christi under an early 3-point onslaught, launching the NCAA Tournament’s top seed to a 96-75 first-round romp in Birmingham, Ala., even with star freshman Brandon Miller going scoreless.
Miller, the 6-foot-9-inch All-American who has been beset by questions about his presence at the scene of a fatal shooting, sat out the final 14 minutes and missed all five field goal attempts while dealing with a groin injury. His previous low was 8 points against Houston on Dec. 10.
Nick Pringle had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Crimson Tide (30-5) set aside off-court distractions and buried 10 first-half 3-pointers against the 16th-seeded Islanders (24-11) to advance to play eighth-seeded Maryland (22-12) on Saturday in the South Region. Julian Reese (17 points) and the Terrapins topped West Virginia, 67-65, after Kedrian Johnson (27 points) missed a heave at the buzzer.
Kansas coasts with Self still sidelined
Jalen Wilson had 20 points and seven rebounds for No. 1 seed and defending national champion Kansas, which allowed absent and recovering coach Bill Self to rest a bit more comfortably during a 96-68 victory over Howard in a West Region first-round game at Des Moines.
Kansas, which has won 16 consecutive first-round games, is aiming to become the first repeat national champion in 16 years.
The Jayhawks (28-7) started their NCAA-record 33rd consecutive tournament appearance with assistant coach Norm Roberts running the show. The 60-year-old Self had a procedure to treat blocked arteries in his heart last week that prevented him from coaching in the Big 12 Tournament.
Freshman Gradey Dick had 19 points and 11 rebounds, K.J. Adams Jr. scored 13 points, and Dajuan Harris Jr. added 11 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals for the Jayhawks, who play No. 8 seed Arkansas in the second round Saturday. The Razorbacks (21-13) beat Illinois, 73-63, behind 18 points from Ricky Council IV.
Shy Odom had 15 points and eight rebounds and Steve Settle III added 13 points for the Bison (22-13).
Houston wins, Sasser hurt anew
Top-seeded Houston (32-3) pulled away for a 63-52 win over Northern Kentucky in Birmingham, Ala., behind 16 points from Jarace Walker. Now, all eyes turn to All-American Marcus Sasser, the team’s top scorer. Sasser (groin) got the start and looked just fine when he knocked down an early 3-pointer. But Sasser had just 5 points in just under 14 minutes of playing time. The school said he aggravated his groin problem, forcing him to watch the second half from the bench. On Saturday, the Cougars will play No. 9 seed Auburn, an 83-75 winner over Iowa. Johni Broome had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots, and Auburn beat Iowa, 83-75, in Birmingham, Ala., for its 10th consecutive opening-round win dating to the mid-1980s. The Tigers (21-12) made 11 of 12 free throws over the final four minutes. The eighth-seeded Hawkeyes (19-12), behind Payton Sandford’s 21 points, twice cut it to 4 but got no closer . . . Boo Buie scored 22 points to lead Northwestern to a 75-67 win over Boise State in Sacramento. The seventh-seeded Wildcats (22-11) will play UCLA or UNC Asheville in the second round of the West Region. Max Rice had 17 points for the 10th-seeded Broncos (24-10) . . . Tyreke Key had 12 points and No. 4 seed Tennessee beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 58-55, in Orlando for a date with No. 5 seed Duke (27-8), which got 23 points from Jeremy Roach in a 74-52 win over Oral Roberts (30-5) in the school’s first NCAA tournament game with Jon Scheyer as coach . . . Sir’Jabari Rice had 23 points and No. 2 seed Texas (27-8) shut down Colgate (26-9) for an 81-61 win at Des Moines. The Longhorns play Penn State or Texas A&M in the Midwest Region on Saturday.