In one of the biggest upsets in recent NCAA Tournament history, Princeton became just the 11th number 15 seed to defeat a number two seed as the Tigers shocked Arizona 59-55 in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament in Sacramento.
Ryan Langborg gave the Ivy League champions their first lead of the game with 2:03 remaining as Princeton scored the final nine points of the game while holding the Wildcats scoreless over the final 4:49.
Tosan Evbuomwan led the Tigers with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists to clinch the program's first Tournament win since 1998. Princeton next faces seventh-seed Missouri in the second round on Saturday.
Azoulas Tubelis led Arizona, who won the Pac-12 tournament for a second straight season, with 22 points. The Wildcats finish their season at 28-7 after becoming the first school to lose to a 15 seed in the first round twice.
Mitch Henderson has now won Tournament games as a player and coach with Princeton, becoming the first at the school to do that.
Princeton stuns Arizona for first NCAA win in quarter century
Tubelis scored seven early points as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 11-6 lead, but threes by Blake Peters and Zach Martini kept Princeton close at 20-16 with 7:39 left in the first half.
Ivy League Player of the Year Evobuomwan scored six points late in the half as part of an 8-1 run that saw the Tigers trail just 31-30 at halftime.
Ramey and Tubelis helped to build a 43-35 advantage coming out of halftime and after Ramey scored again, the lead reached double digits for the first time at 49-39 with 10:34 remaining.
Arizona looked to be in full command when Oumar Ballo scored to put them in front 51-41 with eight minutes to play, but Princeton responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a three from Peters.
Down 56-50, the Tigers closed the game on a 9-0 run, Keeshawn Kellman starting the spurt with a putback dunk and Langborg's layup and subsequent three-pointer put the 15th seed ahead to stay.
After increasing the lead from the free throw line, Princeton watched as Arizona's Courtney Ramey missed a contested three-pointer that would have tied the game and Kerr Kriissa also missed off an offensive rebound to seal the Tigers' victory.