Princeton guard Ryan Langborg and forward Caden Pierce (12) celebrate the team’s win over Missouri in a second-round NCAA Tourname game in Sacramento, Calif. Randall Benton/Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the final minute ticked off the clock, the Princeton fans started chanting “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” and Coach Mitch Henderson cleared the bench with the victory easily in hand.

This upset was no small-school fluke against a more heralded team. It was a thoroughly dominating performance that sent Princeton to a place it hadn’t been in more than a half-century.

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 on Saturday.

“The world looks at us as two upsets,” forward Tosan Evbuomwan said. “But I feel like we’re supposed to be here. We have a lot of confidence in one another, what we’re doing. There’s definitely no letup with this group.”

The No. 15 seeded Tigers (23-8) followed up a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by overwhelming 10th-seeded Missouri (25-10) of the Southeastern Conference from the start.

The Ivy League school known for scaring powerhouses and occasionally pulling off upsets a generation ago has reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967, when only 23 teams even made the tournament.


“I have no words for you,” Peters said. “We have such an unbelievable section (of fans) here. I have the best teammates in the world. I love each and every one of them. when we go out and believe in each other, anything is possible. I know it’s cliche, but anything is possible.”

Princeton will play in the South Region semifinals Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, against the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Creighton.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing deep into the tournament,” said Henderson, a player on Princeton’s teams in 1996 and ’98 that won first-round games. “As a player, got to the second round a couple times. Never got beyond it.”

This marks the third straight year a team seeded 15th has made it to 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 made it this far was in 2012, when Florida Gulf Coast did it.

Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17.


DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points and Noah Carter had 14 for Missouri, which was seeking its first berth in the Sweet 16 since 2009.

“We were able to get the lead one time,” Missouri Coach Dennis Gates said. “We held the lead for 30 seconds in the entire game. Every time we got the lead or when they had the lead, we cut it to six, they came back down and did what a good team would do: Make a shot or make a play.”

Princeton showed no signs of being outclassed against another power conference team, controlling the play from the start.

Every time Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton had an answer, with Peters hitting five 3-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead.

SAN DIEGO STATE 75, FURMAN 52: San Diego State had little trouble ending the run of March Madness darling Furman (28-8), getting 16 points from Micah Parrish to pace a balanced scoring attack in the second round of the South Region in Orlando, Florida.

Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12, and leading scorer Matt Bradley finished with 10 for fifth-seeded San Diego State (29-6), which is heading to its first Sweet 16 since 2004. The Aztecs will play either Alabama or Maryland in Louisville, Kentucky.


Two days after overcoming a 12-point, second-half deficit to shock No. 4 seed Virginia, 13th-seeded Furman was outmuscled and gradually worn down by the much more physical Aztecs.

Kamani Johnson celebrates after Arkansas upset Kansas, 72-71, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. Morry Gash/Associated Press


ARKANSAS 72, KANSAS 71: Kansas’ national title defense ended in the second round, as Ricky Council IV of Arkansas made five free throws in the closing seconds to help the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (22-13) hold off the top-seeded Jayhawks in Des Moines, Iowa.

Davonte Davis scored 25 points and Council added 21 as Arkansas rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit. Kansas, playing without ailing coach Bill Self, became the second top seed not to escape the tournament’s first weekend after Purdue lost on Friday night to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.

Arkansas and Coach Eric Musselman will return to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. The Razorbacks will play either Saint Mary’s or UConn in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.



TENNESSEE 65, DUKE 52: Olivier Nkamhoua tied his career high with 27 points, including 13 straight for Tennessee during a decisive span in the second half, and the fourth-seeded Volunteers (25-10) beat fifth-seeded Duke (27-9) in Orlando, Florida, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.

Santiago Vescovi added 14 points and five assists for Tennessee, which ended Duke’s 10-game winning streak and sent first-year coach Jon Scheyer – charged with replacing Mike Krzyzewski – home after just two NCAA Tournament games.

Nkamhoua made 10 of 13 shots and put an exclamation mark on Tennessee’s victory with an emphatic slam with 1:15 remaining.

Tennessee advanced to face Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


HOUSTON 81, AUBURN 64: Marcus Sasser looked just fine, scoring 22 points, and top-seeded Houston (33-3) stifled local favorite Auburn (21-13) in the second half for a second-round win in Birmingham, Alabama.


The Cougars (33-3) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit, returning after the break with a chip on their shoulders.

Essentially shutting down the lane, Houston played with the desperation of a national championship contender that wasn’t ready to suffer the same fate as Purdue and Kansas – No. 1s that already were sent home.

Led by Tramon Mark with 26 points, Houston advanced to face either No. 4 Indiana or No. 5 Miami in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Tigers were doomed by a stretch of more than 10 1/2 minutes without a field goal and finished just 4 of 24 from the field in the second half.

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