SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 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.
No. 15-seeded Princeton (23-8) followed up after a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament winner Arizona by dominating SEC’s 10-seeded Missouri (25-10) from the start.
The Ivy League school, known a generation ago for scaring powerhouses and occasionally throwing up surprises, has reached the knockout stages for the first time since 1967, when only 23 teams even reached the tournament.
Princeton plays the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Creighton at the Sweet 16 in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday night.
The Tigers will become the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the last 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010. No team on the academically respected team that doesn’t award athletic scholarships has gone further since Penn reached the Final Four in 1979.
Fans making the cross-country trip to California began chanting, “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” in the final minute.
This is the third straight year that a 15th-seeded team has made the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and the other 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 made it.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17.
DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points and Noah Carter added 14 for Missouri, which sought its first spot on the Sweet 16 since 2009.
Showing no sign of being outclassed against another Power Conference team, Princeton controlled the game from the start. Keeshawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot within 16 seconds midway through the half.
Princeton extended the lead to 10 points in a Turn 3 by Zach Martini and went up to 33-19 with a drive from Evbuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the last seven points of the half to enter the breakdown seven.
Every time Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton had a ready answer Peters hits five 3-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead and Missouri never threatened again after that.
Princeton: Physically, Princeton was more than a match with Missouri with a 44-30 rebound advantage and 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in 19 second-chance points. Caden Pierce led with 16 rebounds.
Missouri: Coach Dennis Gates’ first season in Missouri was successful with 25 wins, but still had a disappointing end.
Princeton will be looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1965, when Bill Bradley was the star.
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