NCAA basketball: Princeton, Furman score Round of 64 upsets

Princeton senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan led the Tigers with 15 points in an upset victory over Arizona at the 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament on Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons
Princeton senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan led the Tigers with 15 points in an upset victory over Arizona at the 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament on Thursday in Sacramento, Calif. Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons

March 17 (UPI) -- Princeton and Furman highlighted the first wave of Round of 64 games with major upsets at the 2023 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournmament. Top seeds Alabama, Houston and Kansas also advanced.

Furman was the first team to log an upset Thursday in Orlando, Fla. The No. 13 Paladins knocked off the No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers 68-67 at Amway Center.


The Princeton Tigers later became just the 11th No. 15 seed to win in the 83-year history of the tournament with their upset of No. 2 Arizona on Thursday in Sacramento, Calif.

"It was a pretty surreal feeling," Tigers junior guard Matt Allocco told reporters. "To beat a great team like that on this stage is a pretty special feeling, but I can't say I'm surprised.

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"This team has been so good all year and so gritty. On paper, it's going to look like a big upset, but we believe in each other and think we're a really good team. When we're at our best, I think we can beat anybody in the country."


Senior forward Jalen Slawson led the No. 13 Paladins with 19 points in their upset victory. He also logged 10 rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard J.P. Pegues scored 11, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining.

The Cavaliers scored eight unanswered points to start the game. They pushed that lead to 10 points midway through the quarter. The Paladins cut the lead to five at halftime.

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The Cavaliers raced to another 6-0 run to start the second half and led by 12 halfway through through the frame. The Paladins used an 8-0 run to cut into the deficit.

Slawson later scored nine unanswered points to give the Paladins their first lead of the game with five minutes remaining. The Cavaliers took the lead back with 1:37 remaining as part of a 7-0 run. The Paladins didn't score for more than two minutes during that stretch.

Cavaliers guard Kihei Clark made a free throw for a 67-63 lead with 19 seconds remaining. Paladins forward Garrett Hien made two free throws on the next possession, which cut the deficit to two.

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Clark started the next possession with an inbound pass to fellow guard Reece Beekman. Beekman then sent a pass back to Clark, who was swarmed by Paladins defenders.


Clark, who was trapped in the corner, then fired a one-handed overhead pass toward half court. Hien intercepted the pass and tossed another feed onto Pegues on the right flank.

Pegues caught the ball, turned and launched a 3-pointer, which dropped through the net. Beekman heaved a final Cavaliers attempt near half court as the final buzzer sounded. That shot hit the backboard and rolled off the rim.

Cavaliers junior forward Kadin Shedrick scored 15 points and totaled 13 rebounds and four blocks in the loss. Beekman chipped in 14.

The No. 13 Paladins will face the No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs at 12:10 p.m. Friday in the second round.

The No. 15 Princeton Tigers later pulled off the biggest upset of the day, sending the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats home with a 59-55 upset loss.

Junior forward Azuolas Tubelis scored a game-high 22 points in the loss. Tigers senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan logged 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the victory.

The Wildcats led by as many as a dozen points in the loss. They started the game with a 6-2 run. The Tigers ended the first half on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 31-30 at halftime.


The Wildcats responded with a 10-2 run to open the second. They went on to add a 12-3 run to take a 47-35 lead with 11:50 remaining. Princeton answered with a 13-4 run and trailed by just three with 6:25 remaining.

Tubelis made a layup with 4:45 remaining for a 55-50 lead with 4:45 remaining, but the Wildcats never scored again. The Tigers ended the game with nine unanswered points.

Senior guard Ryan Langborg gave the Tigers their first lead of the night on a layup with 2:03 remaining.

Langborg and Tigers senior forward Keeshawn Kellman totaled eight points apiece in the win. Wildcats junior center Oumar Ballo totaled 13 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.

The No. 15 Princeton Tigers will battle the No. 7 Missouri Tigers at 6:10 p.m. Friday in the second round.

Top-seeded Kansas, Alabama and Houston advanced with wins over respective No. 16 seeds Howard, Texas A&M Corpus Cristi and Northern Kentucky.

No. 8 Maryland also advanced with a 67-65 victory over No. 9 West Virginia. No. 7 Missouri beat No. 10 Utah State. No. 5 San Diego State beat No. 12 Charleston. No. 8 Arkansas edged No. 9 Illinois. No. 9 Auburn beat No. 8 Iowa.


No. 5 Duke beat No. 12 Oral Roberts. No. 2 Texas edged No. 15 Colgate. No. 7 Northwestern advanced with a victory over No. 10 Boise State. No. 5 Tennessee beat. No. 13 Louisiana Lafayette.

No. 2 UCLA beat No. 15 UNC Asheville. No. 7 Texas A&M moved on with a win over No. 10 Penn State.

The second wave of first-round matchups will start with a game between No. 7 Michigan State and No. 10 USC at 12:15 p.m. EDT Friday in Columbus, Ohio. That game will air on CBS.

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