Sacramento, Calif. - Oh, how sweet it is. The No. 15 seed Princeton men's basketball team downed seventh-seeded Missouri in dominant fashion, 78-63, in a battle of Tigers inside Sacramento, California's Golden 1 Center to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1967.
Unlike Thursday's upset of Arizona where Princeton had to scratch and claw its way to victory, the Tigers controlled the game against Missouri from the onset, trailing only once, at 3-2, early in the game. The Tigers from Jersey were able to find their offensive footing this time out shooting lights out from behind the arc, especially in the second half when they hit over 44 percent of their shots from long range. Additionally, when Missouri seemed like they were starting to go a run, and perhaps grab a bit of momentum, the Princeton offense would make a critical basket to halt the Mizzou run.
Blake Peters, who made multiple critical baskets for Princeton in the second half, was a spark of the bench knocking down five of eight shots from downtown on his way to a 17 point evening. All of Peters' points came in the second stanza.
"All year I've been working on reading Tosan (Evbuomwan) and other guys. I think I do a good job of finding open space when he drives. Missouri kept coming off, so I just tried to find open space. Tosan found me. Some other guys found me," Peters said of his shooting performance, adding, "At the end of the day we've all put in a lot of work shooting the ball. Our slogan is: make shots. Today I made shots."
Princeton Head Coach Mitch Henderson concurred, adding, "Blake is an absolute driller."
We've seen a little bit of everything we saw the last two games in our league regularly. I know you guys say, it's Arizona and Missouri. For us, it's the same actions, just different players. You got to keep your body in front of 'em and contest shots.
- Princeton Head Coach Mitch Henderson on his team's defense
While the Princeton offense was clicking, Princeton's defense picked up from where it left off against Arizona. While the play of Princeton's defense may not have shown up on the stat sheet, it was able to do just enough to keep Missouri from getting too comfortable on offense.
"We've seen a little bit of everything we saw the last two games in our league regularly. I know you guys say, it's Arizona and Missouri. For us, it's the same actions, just different players. You got to keep your body in front of 'em and contest shots," Henderson said of his teams defense, adding, "I mean, it's a really hard, tough-nosed group. They know haw to do it."
Statistically, Princeton's offense was paced by Ryan Langborg's 22 points--which led all scorers--and Matt Allocco's seven assists. Allocco also chipped in ten points. Caden Pierce was a force on the glass, leading all rebounders with 16 boards, as Princeton out-rebounded Missouri by a 44-30 margin.
With the win, Princeton becomes the third Ivy League team to reach the Sweet 16, and the first since Cornell accomplished the feat in 2010. Additionally, Princeton becomes the fourth No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Florida Golf Coast made to the regional semifinals in 2013, Oral Roberts made it to the final 16 in 2021, and, New Jersey's own, St. Peter's followed suit in 2022. Finally, Princeton's 15-point margin of victory is the largest for a 15 seed.
Princeton will next face six seed Creighton in the Sweet 16 on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Game time is set for approximately 9:15 p.m. EDT.