SACRAMENTO, Calif. — — Blake Peters made five 3-pointers in the second half and Princeton shocked another Power Conference team to reach the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament 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 victory over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by dominating the SEC’s 10th seed Missouri (25-10) from the start.
The Ivy League school known for deterring powerhouses and occasionally provoking setbacks a generation ago has reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967, when just 23 teams made it to the tournament.
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 make the Sweet 16 in the past 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010. No team from the academically prestigious school that does not provide athletic scholarships has moved on since Penn made the Final Four in 1979.
The fans making the cross-country trip to California started shouting “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” in the closing minute.
This is the third straight year that a 15th-seeded team has reached the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and St. Peter’s New Jersey med school 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 added 14 for Missouri, which had been looking for its top spot in the Sweet 16 since 2009.
Princeton showed no signs of being outclassed against another Power Conference team, who controlled the game from the start. Keeshawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot in the space of 16 seconds midway through the half.
Princeton extended the lead to 10 points on a corner 3 by Zach Martini and went up 33-19 on a drive from Evbuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the final seven points of the half to enter the break-down seven.
Whenever Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton answered with Peters hit five three-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead and Missouri never threatened again after that.
Princeton: Princeton physically more than matched Missouri with a 44-30 rebounding edge and 16 offensive rebounds leading to 19 rebound points. Caden Pierce led the way with 16 rebounds.
Missouri: Coach Dennis Gates’ first season with Missouri was a successful 25-win season, but still had a disappointing finish.
Princeton will be looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1965, when Bill Bradley was the star.
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