15th-seeded Princeton beats Missouri 78-63 to reach Sweet 16
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Blake Peters made five 3-pointers in the second half and Princeton shocked another Power Conference team to reach the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals for the first time in 56 years by beating Missouri 78 -63 Saturday.
The No. 15 seed Princeton (23-8) followed a first-round victory over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by dominating the SEC’s 10th seed Missouri (25-10) from the start.
The Ivy League school, known for scaring powerhouses and sometimes causing upheaval a generation ago, reached the knockout stages for the first time since 1967, when just 23 teams even entered the tournament.
Princeton will face the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Creighton in the Sweet 16 in Louisville, Ky., on Friday night.
The Tigers will be the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the last 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010. No team from the prestigious academic that doesn’t award athletic scholarships has gone further since Penn made the Final Four in 1979.
Fans who made the cross-country trip to California began chanting “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” in the last minute.
This is the third straight year that a 15th-ranked team has qualified for the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and fellow New Jersey school St. Peter’s last year. The only other time a 15 seed has come this far came in 2012, when the Gulf Coast of Florida did.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17.
DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points and Noah Carter added 14 for Missouri, which was seeking its first spot in the Sweet 16 since 2009.
Princeton showed no signs of being outclassed against another power conference team, controlling the game from the start. Keesawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot in 16 seconds midway through the half.
Princeton built the lead to 10 points on a corner 3 from Zach Martini and took a 33-19 lead on a drive from Evbuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the final seven points of the half to enter the all-seven split.
Every time Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton had a response with Peters hitting five 3-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead and Missouri never threatened afterward.
Princeton: Princeton was more than a physical game with Missouri with a 44-30 rebounding advantage and 16 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second-chance points. Caden Pierce led the way with 16 rebounds.
Missouri: Coach Dennis Gates’ first season at Missouri was successful with 25 wins, but still had a disappointing ending.
Princeton will be looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1965, when Bill Bradley was the star.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and support: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top -25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25