Sacramento, CA – No. 15-seeded Princeton continued its NCAA Tournament run with another upset, this time getting past No. 7-seed Missouri 78-63. The UCLA Bruins survived a close contest with Northwestern in a 68-63 win. The two teams advance to the Sweet 16 from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
What was surprising about Princeton’s win was how easy it looked. They got back on defense, stayed in front of Missouri and made it hard for them to penetrate and utterly dominated the boards. It makes you wonder how SEC teams would generally compete against the better Ivy League schools. The two teams shot virtually the same overall from the floor, with Princeton shooting 27-of-62 and Missouri connecting on 25-of-61. The big difference was in rebounding and second chance points. Princeton outrebounded Missouri 44-30 and outscored them in second chance points by an overwhelming 19-2 margin.
The only time Missouri led the game was after a Noah Carter three-pointer that gave them a 3-2 lead in the opening minutes. Then Ryan Langborg took over, connecting on three early 3’s to put Princeton ahead. Langborg, who led Princeton in scoring with 22 points, hit on 4-of-12 from deep in the game. The two teams both went on seven point runs at the end of the half, with Princeton’s run giving them a 33-19 lead and Missouri’s run cutting their deficit to 33-26 at halftime. Their run gave Missouri hope for the second half, but it was not to be.
After Missouri got within 43-37 Princeton’s Brock Peters got going. Peters made five three-pointers and scored all of his 17 points in the second half. Helped by four of Peters’ 3’s, Princeton then went on a 23-8 run to take a 21-point lead at 66-45. That ended any hopes of a Missouri comeback and Princeton coasted to the surprisingly easy win. Princeton’s 6-6 Caden Pierce helped them dominate the boards, ending the contest with 16 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end which helped in their domination in second chance points. There was no question on which Tiger team was the better one today.
The second game went according to form as UCLA rallied late for the five-point win. The Bruins got out of the gate well and helped by six straight points from Jaime Jaquez Jr. took a 28-15 lead. They led 35-25 at halftime and seemed in control after an Amari Bailey hoop that gave them a 41-28 lead. Then Northwestern made their run and helped by 11 points from Chase Audige, tied the game at 45. UCLA then scored six straight points and while the Wildcats cut the lead to one point at 51-50, they could not get closer the rest of the way. The Bruins closed the game at the free throw line, making eight straight.
UCLA was led by 24 points and eight rebounds from Jaquez Jr.. Bailey added an efficient 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, making both his three-point attempts, and added six assists. Tyger Campbell had an off-day shooting (0-of-7) but made all 12 of his free throw attempts and added seven assists against no turnovers. UCLA got starting freshman center Adem Bona back for the game. Bona, who separated his shoulder at the Pac-12 tournament, added six points and two blocks in 21 minutes. He added some deflections that resulted in UCLA possessions and helped provide energy on the defensive end.
For Northwestern point guard Boo Buie led the way with 17 points while Audige added 16. 7-foot center Matthew Nicholson was impressive, making all seven of his field goal attempts, while scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
UCLA will play the winner of the TCU-Gonzaga game next, at the West regional in Las Vegas.
This article was written by Carl Berman, Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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