March 17, 2023

PU Men’s Hoops Stuns Arizona in First Round of NCAA Tournament

By Bill Alden

Rallying from a 10-point deficit with 7:43 left in regulation, the 15th-seeded Princeton University men’s basketball team stunned second-seeded Arizona 59-55 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday in Sacramento, Calif.

Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan sparked the comeback, tallying 15 points with seven rebounds and four assists as the Tigers improved to 22-8. Princeton, which held the Wildcats scoreless for the last 4:43 of the contest, will now face seventh-seeded Missouri in a second-round contest on Saturday.

The triumph marked the first win for the program in the NCAA tournament since 1998 and came 27 years to the day of Princeton’s historic 43-41 upset of defending NCAA champ UCLA with current Tiger coach Mitch Henderson as the point guard of that squad.

In reflecting on the victory over Arizona, Henderson, though, shied away from comparisons to the UCLA win.

“I want to be really clear that this group did this; that was a really long time ago,” said Henderson. “This group did something special for its university, for the fans, for the former players, and for one another. Very similar way that you see in the [Ivy] tournament, they just came together and did it.”

 Henderson credited the squad’s resilience with keying the dramatic rally.

 “We were down the whole game and just made big plays,” said Henderson. “That’s a really good team. We out-rebounded them. We had more points in the paint. I thought we’d have to have five turnovers to get it done. We had 11. It’s a heck of a win, and I’m so proud of them.”