Blake Peters made five 3-pointers in the second half and Princeton stunned 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.
No. 15 seed Princeton (23-8) followed up a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by dominating the SEC’s 10th seed Missouri (25-10) early on.
The Ivy League school, known for scaring the powerful and occasionally surprising a generation ago, reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967, when only 23 teams made it to the tournament.
( After UConn beats Iona in the NCAA first round, is St. John’s on Pitino’s horizon? )
Princeton will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Creighton at the Sweet 16 in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday night.
The Tigers will be the second Ivy League school to reach the Sweet 16 in the last 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010. No academically prestigious non-scholarship team has gone further since Penn reached the Final Four in 1979.
Fans who made the cross-country trip to California began chanting “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” in the closing minute.
This marks the third consecutive year that a 15th-seeded team made it to the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and St. Peter’s, the New Jersey school, last year. The only other time a 15 seed made it that far was in 2012 when Florida Gulf Coast 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 Sweet 16 berth since 2009.
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Princeton showed no signs of being outplayed against another power conference team, controlling the game early on. Keeshawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot in a span of 16 seconds midway through the half.
Princeton built the lead to 10 points on a Zach Martini corner kick and went up 33-19 on a drive by Evbuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the last seven points of the half to go into the break of seven.
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 again after that.
princeton: Princeton was more than a match physically with Missouri with a 44-30 rebounding advantage and 16 offensive rebounds leading 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 it still ended disappointingly.
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Princeton will be looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1965 when Bill Bradley was the star.