Princeton, Furman pull off upsets to open March Madness

by mcardinal

Rob Issa, FISM News


Princeton and Furman were bracket-busters in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

English forward Tosan Evbuomwan scored 15 points, Ryan Langborg gave Princeton its first lead with 2:03 to play and the 15th-seeded Tigers beat No. 2 Arizona 59-55 on Thursday for the school’s first tournament victory in 25 years.

Furman hadn’t won in twice that long until a dramatic victory over 4th-seeded Virginia. 

Garrett Hien picked off an errant long pass and tossed the ball to JP Pegues, who hit an NBA 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the 13th-seeded Paladins a 68-67 victory for the program’s first tournament victory since 1974.

The two upsets highlighted the start of March Madness.

Princeton coach Mitch Henderson played for the Tigers when they last won a tournament game against UNLV in 1968. Henderson was also part of Princeton’s upset over UCLA in the 1996 tourney.

“I’ve been the beneficiary of that game (against UCLA), along with my teammates, for a long time,” Henderson said. “But I’m the coach here and my charge — I’m very present about this — is I want that for them. That’s very, very simple. And they did that today. They made so many people proud and happy today. They deserve it.”

The Tigers are the 11th No. 15 seed to win a first-round game. It’s happened three years in a row. Arizona is the first No. 2 seed to lose twice in the first round.

“If you want to be a great player, you want to be a great coach, we all got to learn from this,’” Wildcats 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.”

Furman trailed by 12 points in the second half but switched to a zone defense and started to peck away at the lead. They were down by one point when two defenders trapped Virginia guard Kihei Clark on the baseline, forcing him to get rid of the ball. 

“Couldn’t see out of it,” Clark said. “Just tried to throw it up. Just couldn’t see. It was a good trap.”


In other first-round action, Kobe Brown hit three 3-pointers in a span of three minutes to spark a 13-2 run and lead 7th-seeded Missouri to a 76-65 win over No. 10 Utah State.

Matt Bradley scored 17 points to lead 5th-seeded San Diego State to a 63-57 win over 12th-seeded Charleston. The Aztecs became the first team from the Mountain West Conference to win a tournament game in the last 12 tries.

Julian Reese scored 17 points and 8th-seeded Maryland beat No. 9 West Virginia 67-65. Kedrian Johnson scored 27 points for West Virginia but his potential winner hit the side of the rim at the buzzer.

Nick Pringle scored 17 points and had a season-high 13 rebounds to lead top-seeded Alabama to a 96-75 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Crimson Tide advanced to play eighth-seeded Maryland.

Jalen Wilson had 20 points to lead No. 1 seed Kansas to a 96-68 victory over Howard. The defending national champion Jayhawks played without coach Bill Self, who is recovering from a recent heart procedure. Kansas has won 16 consecutive first-round games. The Jayhawks are trying to become the first repeat NCAA champion in 16 years.

Ricky Council IV scored 18 points to help 8th-seeded Arkansas defeat Illinois 73-63. Devo Davis added 16 points for the Razorbacks.

Boo Buie scored 22 points to lead 7th-seeded Northwestern over Boise State 75-67. The Wildcats advanced in only their second appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament.

Jeremy Roach scored 23 points to lift No. 5 seed Duke to a 74-51 win over Oral Roberts. The Blue Devils won their first tournament game since Jon Scheyer replaced Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Johni Broome had 19 points and 12 rebounds and 9th-seeded Auburn beat Iowa 83-75.

Sir’Jabari Rice scored 23 points and No. 2 seed Texas cruised past Colgate 81-61.