Creighton ends Princeton’s March Madness run with 86-75 win

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Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Creighton used its size, 3-point shooting and a swarming second-half defense to end the March Madness run of Princeton, beating the 15th-seeded Tigers 86-75 on Friday night in the Sweet 16.

The sixth-seeded Bluejays (24-12) advanced to their first regional final since they were part of an eight-team NCAA Tournament in 1941. Creighton will play No. 5 seed San Diego State in Sunday’s South Region final, with each team seeking its first Final Four.

Ryan Kalkbenner, the two-time Big East defensive player of the year, scored 22 points to lead the Bluejays to their sixth win in seven games. Baylor Scheierman made five 3s and finished with 21 points.

“Kalk, he impacts us at the rim on both ends of the floor and defensively provides so much for us,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “I thought he really got going late in the first half and carried it over to the second half. Baylor just plays at every level. He can make the mid-range. He shoots the 3. He sees the floor incredibly well, and believe it or not, he’s become a pretty good defender.”

The Tigers (23-9) were led by Ryan Langborg with 26 points and Ivy League player of the year Tosan Evbuomwan with 24 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

Princeton shook up brackets everywhere by beating No. 2 seed Arizona in the first round, then blew out seventh-seeded Missouri last weekend in Sacramento, California.

Playing in its first Sweet 16 since 1967, Princeton was hoping to become the first Ivy League champion to make the Elite Eight since Penn’s Final Four run in 1979, the first Tigers squad to reach the Final Four since Bill Bradley led them there in 1965, and the second straight No. 15 seed to play in a regional final. Saint Peter’s last year became the first 15 seed to achieve that feat.

Princeton’s offense bore no resemblance to the back-cutting, deliberate style that defined the late Pete Carril’s coaching tenure. Instead, the Tigers went toe to toe against Creighton’s fast-paced offense until they stalled out at the start of the second half.

Creighton used a 9-2 run to take 56-45 lead, a four-minute stretch during which Princeton coach Mitch Henderson called two timeouts and Evbuomwan drew his third foul.

The Bluejays just wouldn’t stop. When Princeton cut the deficit to 61-52, Creighton answered with seven more points and the Tigers couldn’t get closer than seven points after that.

“Princeton’s really good at establishing their pace, so you’ve just got to take them out of it,” Kalkbrenner said. “Their whole goal is to take us out of our pace.”

After beating North Carolina State and third-seeded Baylor in Denver last weekend, drawing confidence from not needing oxygen masks like their opponents, Creighton eliminated the suddenly popular Ivy Leaguers. Now, the Bluejays are one win away from the national semifinals.

“It’s been amazing, it’s been a dream come true. This is why I came to Creighton in the first place, to make a run with this group of guys,” Scheierman said. “It’s just been an incredible experience. I’m looking forward to continuing that on Sunday.”

15th-seeded Princeton beats Missouri 78-63 to reach Sweet 16

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As the final minute ticked off the clock, the Princeton fans started chanting “Sweet 16! Sweet 16!” and coach Mitch Henderson cleared the bench with the victory easily in hand.

This upset was no small-school fluke against a more heralded team. It was a thoroughly dominating performance that sent Princeton to a place it hadn’t been in more than a half-century.

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.

“The world looks at us as two upsets,” forward Tosan Evbuomwan said. “But I feel like we’re supposed to be here. We have a lot of confidence in one another, what we’re doing. There’s definitely no letup with this group.”

The No. 15 seeded Princeton (23-8) followed up a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by overwhelming seventh-seeded Missouri (25-10) of the Southeastern Conference from the start.

The Ivy League school known for giving powerhouses scares and occasionally pulling off upsets a generation ago has reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967 when only 23 teams even made the tournament.

“I have no words for you,” Peters said. “We have such an unbelievable section (of fans) here. I have the best teammates in the world. I love each and every one of them. when we go out and believe in each other, anything is possible. I know it’s cliche, but anything is possible.”

Princeton will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Baylor and Creighton in 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 league that doesn’t give athletic scholarships has gone further since Penn made the Final Four in 1979.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing deep into the tournament,” said Henderson, a player on Princeton’s teams in 1996 and ’98 that won first-round games. “As a player, got to the second round a couple times. Never got beyond it.”

This marks the third straight year a team seeded 15th made it to the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and fellow New Jersey school Saint Peter’s last year. The only other time a 15 seed made it this far came in 2013 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 was seeking its first berth in the Sweet 16 since 2009.

“We were able to get the lead one time,” coach Dennis Gates said. “We held the lead for 30 seconds in the entire game. Every time we got the lead or when they had the lead, we cut it to six, they came back down and did what a good team would do: Make a shot or make a play.”

Princeton showed no signs of being outclassed against another power conference team, controlling the play from the start. Keeshawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot in a span of 16 seconds midway through the half.

Princeton built the lead to 10 points on a corner 3 by Zach Martini and went up 33-19 on a drive by Evbuomwan.

Missouri responded by scoring the final seven points of the half to go into the break down seven.

Every time Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton had an answer with Peters hitting five 3-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead and Missouri never threatened after that.

“Blake Peters has been making shots coming off the bench for us for weeks,” Henderson said. “This is a very, very confident group. We are so thrilled to be going to the Sweet 16. It is an absolute pleasure being around these guys. They just grit their teeth and they do it.”


Princeton: Princeton was more than a match physically with Missouri with a 44-30 rebounding edge and 16 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second-chance points. Caden Pierce led the way with 16 rebounds.

“They’re playing absolutely fearless,” Henderson said. “They’re unafraid of anyone.”

Missouri: Coach Dennis Gates’ first season at Missouri was a successful one with 25 wins but still had a disappointing finish.


Princeton will look for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1965 when Bill Bradley was the star.

Princeton women top NC State 64-63 in March Madness opener

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SALT LAKE CITY – Grace Stone is making a habit of game-winning jumpers for the streaking Princeton Tigers.

“She’s got ice in her veins. She has that look in her eyes and you know she’s gonna make a play. She’s gonna hit a shot,” Princeton coach Carla Berube said.

Stone scored 22 points, including her fifth 3-pointer of the game with 4.7 seconds remaining, to lift 10th-seeded Princeton to a thrilling 64-63 win over North Carolina State in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

“That’s a shot I’ve taken in a game before and my teammates have all the confidence in the world in me,” said Stone, who hit game-winners against Columbia and Rhode Island earlier this season.

Kaitlyn Chen, who also scored 22 points, made a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining to cut the Tigers’ deficit to 63-61 and then Madison St. Rose and Stone both came up with steals in the final minute to give the Tigers a chance.

On North Carolina State’s final possession, the Tigers created chaos – as they had done all game long – and knocked the ball loose to prevent the seventh-seeded Wolfpack from getting a shot off.

St. Rose “got her hand on the ball and then I think everybody dove on the ball,” Berube said, who was then drenched by a “water party “ in the locker room and conducted her press conference all wet.

The Tigers (24-5), who held the Wolfpack scoreless for the final 5:43 of the game, ran to the center of the court screaming for jubilation at their unlikely victory.

It’s the second straight season that Princeton has won a first-round game. The Tigers beat Kentucky last season before falling to Indiana in the second round by a point.

The Tigers’ men’s and women’s teams are the first Ivy League duo to both advance in the NCAA Tournament after the men’s team upset second-seeded Arizona on Thursday.

“We watched that game and looked at each other and said, ‘All right, we’re next. It’s our turn,’” said Julia Cunningham, who had 14 points and eight assists for the Tigers.

Mimi Collins scored 14 points and Madison Hayes and Jaki Brown-Turner each had 10 points but the Wolfpack missed their final five shots and had five turnovers down the stretch.

“We got the shots that we wanted. Some of them rimmed in and out. They’re defense was good, but I feel like … our shots just weren’t falling,” Collins said.

Aziaha James was the catalyst in pushing the Wolfpack’s (20-12) lead to 63-55 with a steal and back-to-back layups with 5:44 to play but they didn’t score again.

“It’s a tough loss. Heartbreaking,” North Carolina State coach Wes Moore said.

The Tigers scored the first 10 points of the third quarter but then went cold against the Wolfpack’s defensive pressure. North Carolina State regained the lead 55-51 by forcing 12 straight misses from Princeton over the final 6:52 of the period.

“We’ve gone through stretches where we’ve struggled to score and we know that our defense is going to keep us in games,” Stone said and cited their motto – ‘Defense Travels!’

The Wolfpack started the game missing point guard and leading scorer Diamond Johnson, who has an ankle injury that has been hobbling her for weeks. They seemed out of sorts and missed their first seven shots.

To make matters worse, her backup James, who got the start, suffered a lower leg injury with 9:21 left in the second quarter and had to be helped off the court. She later returned to spark North Carolina State.

But the Wolfpack used their physical advantage inside to stake a 41-35 halftime lead on the strength of post players Collins and Hayes both scoring 10 points off the bench in the first half.

The Tigers have now won 16 in a row heading into a matchup with host Utah (the second seed) on Sunday afternoon.

“Wow! Just so thrilled with that win. I mean, that’s what it’s all about,” Berube said as the Tigers advanced. “Now we just need to take that next step.”


Princeton: The Tigers used defense when their offense sputtered and came up big when it mattered most. The Tigers only allowed 52.5 points a game this year and their tenacity won the day even when they got down by eight points.

NC State: The Wolfpack arrived with their lowest seed since 2016-17 but seemed to have the talent and strength to control the game. But the Wolfpack couldn’t get clean looks when the Tigers got desperate and disruptive.

Henderson, Princeton stun Arizona 59-55 in NCAA Tournament

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Mitch Henderson’s victory leap that punctuated Princeton’s famed upset over UCLA in 1996 has become an iconic moment. There is a picture of the joyous jump at the school’s practice facility that serves as a constant reminder of what’s possible.

Now Henderson’s current players have authored one of their own.

Ryan Langborg lifted Princeton to its first lead with 2:03 to play and the Tigers used a late-game run to earn their first NCAA Tournament win in 25 years, topping No. 2 seed Arizona 59-55 on Thursday.

“Pretty surreal feeling,” guard Matt Allocco said. “To beat a great team like that on this stage is a pretty special feeling. But also I can’t say I’m surprised. This team has been so good all year, so gritty. On paper, it’s going to look like a big upset. But we believe in each other and we think we’re a really good team. When we’re at our best, then I think we can beat anybody in the country.”

The 15th-seeded Tigers (22-9) scored the final nine points, holding the Pac-12 Tournament champion scoreless over the final 4:43.

Tosan Evbuomwan scored 15 points in Princeton’s first tournament victory since beating UNLV in 1998 when Henderson was a player for the Tigers.

Henderson also played on the 1996 team that beat defending champion UCLA in the school’s final tournament under coach Pete Carril, who died in August. This victory fittingly came in Sacramento, where Carril spent time as an NBA assistant after retiring as Tigers coach.

“He would be very proud of the group,” Henderson said. “He wouldn’t want any attention to be brought other than what these guys did. They played to win. We knew we had to keep the game low possessions.”

Princeton advanced to play seventh-seeded Missouri in the second round of the South Region. The Tigers beat Utah State 76-65.

Azuolas Tubelis scored 21 points for the Wildcats (28-7), who haven’t won a tournament game in consecutive years since 2014-15.

It marked the third straight year and 11th time overall that a No. 15 seed won a first-round game. Arizona is the only school to be on the wrong end of one of those upsets twice, also losing to Steve Nash and Santa Clara in 1993.

“If you want to be a great player, you want to be a great coach, we all got to learn from this,’” coach Tommy Lloyd said. “We got to go back and figure out what happened and understand the value of being up 10 to 12 points with 10 minutes to go, putting the hammer on people, not letting people get back in the game.”

The Wildcats seemed in control of this one when Oumar Ballo’s basket put them up 10 with eight minutes left.

But the Tigers responded with seven straight points, capped by a second-chance 3-pointer from Blake Peters that made it 51-48 with about six minutes left.

They closed the game with a 9-0 run – just like they did in their most memorable tournament win against UCLA in 1996.

Keeshawn Kellman started the spurt with a putback dunk before Langborg hit a jumper and then a layup to give the Tigers the lead.

The Wildcats then missed all five shots down the stretch and Princeton put it away at the foul line. Langborg also blocked Courtney Ramey’s shot with 50 seconds left and the Tigers protecting a one-point lead.

“When I blocked it I saw the whole crowd erupt,” he said. “My teammates were all locked in with each other and it was kind of that moment where you know, like, ‘Wow we can really do this. We’re going to do this and nothing’s going to stop us.’”

Ramey, who hit a game-winning shot in the Pac-12 Tournament, missed a contested 3-pointer with 14 seconds left that could have tied the game. Kerr Kriisa also missed from long range after an offensive rebound, sending Princeton into an early celebration.


The game featured just 12 free throws, with four coming after intentional fouls by Arizona late in the game. The Wildcats went to the line seven times despite a big size advantage with Tubelis and Bello.

“You go inside over and over and over again, and you shoot seven free throws. I mean, I don’t know if they’re fouls or not. They must not have been because obviously they didn’t get called,” Lloyd said. “When the game is reffed like that, it makes it tough.”


Princeton: The Tigers gave the Ivy League its first tournament win since 2016 when Yale beat Baylor. The conference had been one-and-done the last four trips, having missed the 2021 edition because of COVID-19.

Arizona: The Wildcats got little help offensively outside of Tubelis and Ballo, who combined for 35 points. The rest of the team shot 9 for 27.


Princeton will look to win two games in the tournament for the first time since 1983.

Berger’s late layup sends Indiana past Princeton 56-55

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Grace Berger scored the last of her 15 points on a spinning, tiebreaking layup with 28.2 seconds left and Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 12 points Monday night help to help third-seeded Indiana beat 11th-seed Princeton 56-55 and reach its second straight Sweet 16.

Ali Patberg sealed the win in her home finale with a steal with 3.8 seconds left and Aleksa Gulbe closed it out with two free throws.

The Hoosiers (24-8) have won five of their last six and swept the first two NCAA Tournament games they’ve ever hosted – in front of a loud, large crowd. Indiana also has tied its single-season school record for wins.

Afterward the Hoosiers celebrated by jogging into the student section as the band played the school fight song and then lifted coach Teri Moren after the alma mater played. Indiana now faces either second-seeded UConn or seventh-seeded UCF on Saturday in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Hoosiers advanced on a night Princeton (25-5) was trying to post a tourney record ninth victory by a double-digit seed. Instead, the Tigers had their 18-game winning streak snapped while shooting 32.8% from the field and three of its top players got into early foul trouble.

Julia Cunningham and Grace Stone each scored 13 to lead Princeton. Ivy League player of the year Abby Meyers had 11 points, going just 3 of 14 from the field and missing her first six 3-point attempts before making her last as the buzzer sounded.

The Ivy League tourney champs sure made it tough on Indiana.

After trailing 39-29 at halftime, the Tigers stingy defense limited Indiana to just three baskets in the third quarter as they pulled within 45-42.

And when Ellie Mitchell capped an 8-0 run early in the fourth with a layup at the 5:19 mark, Princeton led 50-49.

Cardona-Hillary’s layup gave Indiana the lead, but Princeton answered with two free throws from Meyers with 1:12 to go.

Berger tied the score by making 1 of 2 free throws with 58.1 seconds left and then broke the tie with her layup on a play called during a timeout before Gulbe closed it out.


Princeton: Women’s basketball fans need to pay attention to what coach Carla Berube is building. They Tigers already have one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, balanced scoring and play with discipline that’s hard to match. It’s why they beat Southeastern Conference tourney champ Kentucky on Saturday and gave the Big Ten tourney runner-up everything it could handle Monday. And only one key player, Meyers, is a senior.

Indiana: The Hoosiers survived in front of the third-largest crowd in school history, 9,627. And they needed all the energy the crowd could muster. But after making the deepest tourney run in school history last year, to the Elite Eight, and hosting NCAA tourney games for the first time, Indiana wasn’t going to let any foe to deter it from making another Sweet 16 run.


Indiana faces either second-seeded UConn or seventh-seeded UCF on Saturday in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Yale edges Princeton 66-64 to win Ivy League tournament

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Azar Swain scored 23 points and Yale held on for a 66-64 victory over Princeton to win the Ivy League tournament on Sunday.

The Bulldogs will play in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time. Yale last went to the NCAAs in 2019 and was to be the league representative for the cancelled 2020 event. The Ivy League cancelled its 2020-21 season.

Second-seeded Yale, which led nearly the entire game, was up by nine with a minute left. But Ethan Wright hit a 3-pointer and Jaelin Llewellyn added two more, the final one with 24 seconds remaining, to get the top-seeded Tigers within two after Yale’s Bez Mbeng had made a pair of free throws for Yale.

After Yale’s Isaiah Kelly missed two free throws with 14.4 seconds to go, Llewellyn drove inside but his effort to kick out a pass went off the bottom of the backboard and struck him as he went out of bounds with 1.5 left. Yale, which had two five-second violations in the final minutes, threw a long inbounds pass that Llewellyn intercepted but his desperation heave wasn’t close.

Swain shot 9 of 21 with three 3-pointers. Mbeng added 13 points and 11 rebounds plus three steals and Matt Knowling had 12 points and five assists for the Bulldogs (19-11), who split with Princeton during the regular season but finished a game back of the first-place Tigers.

Tosan Evbuomwan scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and five assists for Princeton (23-6), which came in on an eight-game win streak. Llewellyn added 18 points and Wright 15. Princeton, ranked in the top 10 nationally in field-goal (49.05) and 3-point percentage (38.99) and eighth in scoring offense (80.4), shot 41%, made 10 of 30 from the arc and tied their season low for points.

Yale took a 7-4 lead on a Bbeng 3-pointer and led the rest of the way, holding a 32-25 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 in the second half, holding off several Princeton charges.

Yale shot 46%, made 6 of 17 from the arc and was plus-nine on the boards.