The clock hasn’t struck midnight for the Cinderella story of the Princeton Tigers just yet. The 15th-seeded team advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating the No. 7 Missouri Tigers in the second round, 78-63.
Princeton seized control in the first half, establishing a 14-point lead, which Missouri managed to trim down to seven points. However, the Tigers roared back in the second half and maintained their momentum, leading by up to 21 points.
Ryan Langborg scored 22 points, with Blake Peters contributing 17 for Princeton, while Caden Pierce pulled down 16 rebounds.
The Tigers join the ranks of the few 15-seeds to reach the Sweet 16: St. Peter’s Peacocks from the previous year, 2021’s Oral Roberts, and Florida Gulf Coast from 2013.
Princeton’s head coach Mitch Henderson expressed pride in his team’s achievement, saying, “This is awesome for our school”. He personally emphasized the team’s winning mentality and the moment’s significance for him, as he never reached the Sweet 16 as a player.
Henderson recounted his halftime speech, telling his team, “We’re going to get on that flight, no matter what”.
“We believed that the best version of us could triumph over the best version of them. And they did it. We’re heading to the Sweet 16, but this group is exceptional. I believe that in the tournament, each team has its unique journey. This one has an extraordinary journey, and once again, I’m just so proud of them,” said Henderson.
Princeton looks forward to facing the matchup winner between No. 3 Baylor and No. 6 Creighton. Should the Tigers prevail, they would become only the second 15-seed to reach the Elite 8, following in the footsteps of last year’s Peacocks.