Blake Peters hit five 3-pointers in the second half, and No. 15-seeded Princeton beat No. 7-seeded Missouri 78-63 on Saturday to advance to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 56 years, and another win. It shocked the Power Conference team.
As the final minute ticked away, Princeton fans began yelling “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” Coach Mitch Henderson cleared the bench with an easy win.
This upset was no small school fluke against a more foretold team. It was an absolutely dominant performance that sent Princeton where it was more than half a century ago.
“The world sees us as two upsets,” said forward Tosan Evomwan. “But we feel like we should be here. We have a lot of confidence in each other and in what we do. There is absolutely no disappointment with this group.”
Princeton (23-8) dominated the Southeastern Conference’s Missouri (25-10) from the start before defeating Pac-12 tournament champions Arizona in the first round.
The Ivy League school, known to scare and occasionally upset the powerhouse a generation ago, reached the Round of 16 for the first time since 1967 when only 23 teams made it to the tournament.
“You have no words,” Peters said. “There’s an incredible[fan’s]section here. I have the best teammates in the world. I love each and every one of them. I hope we can go out and believe in each other.” When you are, anything is possible. I know it’s a cliché, but anything is possible.”
Princeton will face the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Clayton at the Sweet 16 in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday night.
The Tigers, joining Cornell in 2010, become the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the last 43 tournaments. .
“I always dreamed of playing deep in the tournament,” said Henderson, who won the first round with Princeton’s team in 1996 and 1998. “He’s been to the second round a few times as a player,” he said. “He never got past that.”
It marks the third straight year for a 15th-seeded team to advance to the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and New Jersey’s St. Peters last year. The only time a 15 seed has been this successful is his 2013, which was achieved by the Florida Gulf Coast.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17 points.
DeAndre Golston scored 19 points and Noah Carter scored 14 points for Missouri, who was looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009.
“We were able to take the lead only once,” said manager Dennis Gates. “We held the lead for 30 seconds the entire game. to 6, they came back and did what a good team would do: make the shot or make the ‘play. “
Princeton controlled the play from the start and showed no signs of excelling against other power conference teams. Keyshawn Kelman had two dunks and a blocked shot in the first 16 seconds.
Princeton built a 10-point lead at corner 3 of Zach Martini and went up to 33-19 with a drive by Evvuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the final 7 points of the half to enter breakdown 7.
Whenever Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton answered with Peters hitting five 3-pointers. In the fourth he gave Princeton a 62-43 lead, after which Missouri posed no threat.
“Blake Peters has been shooting off the bench for weeks,” Henderson said. “This is a very confident group. I am very excited to be joining Sweet 16. It is an absolute pleasure to be with them. They just grit their teeth and do it.” increase.”