Sacramento, Calif. - Welcome to March! The Princeton men's basketball team continued the tradition that is March Madness by becoming the 11th No. 15 seed to upend a No. 2 seed when they upset Arizona in the NCAA Tournament, South Region, first round game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
The Tigers used a tenacious "D" to ignite a ferocious second half comeback to overcome a 12-point deficit midway through the second period and take their first, and only, lead with 2:03 left in the game. Princeton's defense caused 13 Wildcat turnovers for the game and out-blocked a taller Arizona team, 6-1, on their way to a 59-55 victory.
"Ryan Langborg had a few blocks on (Courtney) Ramey. Cade's (Pierce) defensive plays at the end. Zach Martini was unbelievable, all over the place. That's what got us here. It's what we hang our hat on each season, what we talk about all the time. This is what gets it done," Princeton Head Coach Mitch Henderson said referring to his team's defense.
Henderson continued, "Hey, look, we want to win six games, just like Arizona does. In order to do that you've got to be tough defensively. We did not shoot the ball very well tonight. That's what we've been. We've identified toughness in recruiting. These guys are winners. That's what got us the win."
While the Tiger defense was going to work, the Princeton offense was able to make the most of its second chance opportunities, scoring 11 second chance points compared to Arizona's two. Additionally, Princeton's bench players outpaced their Arizona counterparts 16-7.
Princeton was led on offense by Tosan Evbuomwan's 15 points and four assists while Caden Pierce led the Tigers with eight boards. Defensively, Matt Allocco and Zach Martini led Princeton with two steals each, and Keeshawn Kellman and Ryan Langborg each had two blocks.
Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis led all scorers with 22 points, and the Wildcats' Omar Ballo had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Princeton will continue dancing and will face No. 7 seed Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday in Sacramento. Tipoff is set for 6:10 p.m. EDT on TNT. Missouri defeated Utah State 76-65 in their first round game.
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