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No. 15 Princeton’s late flurry KO’s No. 2 Arizona


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Practically three a long time since he helped Princeton to a legendary match upset of UCLA as a participant, coach Mitch Henderson once more has his arms on a chunk of historical past because the No. 15-seeded Tigers shocked No. 2 Arizona 59-55 on Thursday.

“I have been the beneficiary of that recreation [against UCLA], together with my teammates, for a very long time,” Henderson mentioned of Princeton’s upset as a No. 13 seed in 1996. “However I am the coach right here and my cost — I am very current about this — is I would like that for them. That is very, quite simple. And so they did that at present. They made so many individuals proud and blissful at present. They deserve it.”

The Tigers’ upset marked the third straight 12 months and eleventh time total {that a} No. 15 seed gained a first-round recreation.

Making sense of how they pulled it off is a little more troublesome. The Tigers trailed by 10 with eight minutes to play, did not make a free throw till there have been 21 seconds left and shot simply 4-of-25 from 3-point vary. This all in opposition to an Arizona workforce that’s exceedingly extra athletic at each place and has three gamers in its eight-man rotation who’re 6-foot-11 or taller.

None of that mattered. Princeton outrebounded Arizona 38-37, had six blocks to Arizona’s one and was much more energetic, particularly within the second half.

“It might be an upset on paper and to the nation, however it isn’t to us,” Henderson mentioned.

Arizona turned the primary workforce in NCAA match historical past with a number of losses to fifteen seeds in any spherical. The Wildcats additionally fell to Steve Nash and 15-seed Santa Clara within the opening spherical of the 1993 match.

For Arizona, which aspired for a deep match run after successful the Pac-12 match, the loss represented an extremely disappointing finish to what was largely an excellent season.

“There’s going to be some dangerous with plenty of good [at Arizona] and I am constructed for it,” second-year coach Tommy Lloyd mentioned. “That is gonna be a small setback. I imply this — not for me. I am simply unhappy for these guys. They do not get to expertise how particular an NCAA run is. As a result of these guys have been constructed to do this and we bumped into workforce at present that, that made all the correct performs on the proper time and we weren’t capable of separate from them sufficient.”

Lloyd did not have second ideas about his recreation plan, which sought to use the Wildcats’ benefit down low, however expressed some shock on the means the sport was officiated.

“You sit right here in my seat. You may have an All-American massive man, an all-conference massive man, you go inside time and again and over and over and shoot seven free throws,” he mentioned. “I do not know in the event that they’re fouls or not, however — they need to not have been as a result of clearly they did not get referred to as. When the sport is reffed like that, it makes it powerful. You may have a bonus that will get — both they’re actually bodily and never fouling or they are not calling the fouls. And, and I have never reviewed the sport, so I am not saying a method or one other, nevertheless it makes it powerful.”

Princeton was led by English ahead Tosan Evbuomwan, who scored 15 factors with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. It is going to play No. 7 Missouri within the second spherical Friday.

Princeton gained as a 16-point underdog, giving the Tigers the biggest upset victory by an Ivy League workforce for the reason that NCAA match expanded in 1985, based on ESPN Stats & Data. That document was beforehand held by Harvard, which beat New Mexico as a ten.5-point underdog in 2013.

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