Coach Mitch Henderson once again has a piece of history as the No. 15-seeded Tigers stunned two-seeded Arizona 59-55 on Thursday, nearly three decades after he led Princeton to a storied tournament upset victory over UCLA as a player. With the Tigers’ upset, a No. 15 seed has now won a first-round match for three years running and eleven times total.
Princeton’s Terrific Finish
It’s a little trickier to understand how they did it. With eight minutes remaining, the Tigers were down by ten points, didn’t attempt a free throw until 21 seconds remained, and made just 4-of-25 three-point attempts.
All of this is against a squad from Arizona with three players in its eight-player rotation and is significantly more athletic at every position. All of stuff was irrelevant. Princeton was far more energetic, especially in the second half, outrebounding Arizona 38-37, with six blocks to Arizona’s one.
Arizona became the first team to lose several times to 15 seeds in any NCAA tournament round. In the first round of the 1993 competition, Steve Nash and 15-seed Santa Clara defeated the Wildcats.
The defeat was a shocking finish to what had been, on the whole, a very successful season for Arizona, which had hoped to make a long playoff run after winning the Pac-12 championship.
Although Lloyd wasn’t hesitant about his strategy, which aimed to take advantage of the Wildcats’ low-post strength, he did show astonishment at how the game was ruled. Tosan Evbuomwan, an English forward, led Princeton with 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. In the second round on Friday, it will take on Missouri.
According to an analysis by ESPN Stats & Information, Princeton triumphed despite being a 16-point underdog, giving the Tigers the largest upset victory by an Ivy League club since the NCAA tournament’s expansion in 1985. The previous mark holder was Harvard, which defeated New Mexico in 2013 despite being a 10.5-point underdog.