Arizona goes one-and-done at NCAA Tournament, stunned by No. 15 seed Princeton
Arizona is going home after one game. Coach Tommy Lloyd’s second season in charge — one that saw him set a record for wins in a coach’s first two years — ended with a thud in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as No. 15 seed Princeton outscored the Wildcats 9-0 over the game’s final 4:45 to win 59-55.
It’s just the 11th win all-time by a 15-seed over a 2-seed. It also makes Arizona the only program in NCAA Tournament history to lose a first-round matchup as a No. 2 seed multiple times.
Princeton’s numbers were unremarkable. The Tigers shot 40.6% from the floor. They only connected on four of their 25 3-pointers (16%). They only took five free throws in the entire game. They had nine assists and 11 turnovers.
And yet Arizona stumbled and fumbled its way down the stretch, allowing Princeton to just keep hanging in the game.
The Wildcats committed four turnovers over the final five minutes. Courtney Ramey forced a tough baseline jumper and was blocked. Azuolas Tubelis, determined to get himself to the rim, forced a contested push shot inside. Kerr Kriisa missed a desperation 3, fading to his right from the top of the key.
Arizona’s typically-potent offense was malignant.
They shot 3-of-16 from the 3-point line. Kerr Kriisa and Cedric Henderson Jr. were complete non-factors; they combined to shoot 2-for-10 from the floor, score five points, turn the ball over four times, and only contribute three combined assists and four combined rebounds.
Add in the fact Pelle Larsson only took three shots off the bench and it didn’t make a lick of difference what Tubelis and Oumar Ballo were able to do.
The frontcourt duo scored 35 of Arizona’s 55 points. Tubelis got 22, but on a woefully inefficient 20 shots.
It was a lethargic showing at the worst kind of time and for the second straight season, a Pac-12 championship campaign ends in disappointment in the tournament.
The 55 points represent the lowest single-game total for the Wildcats under Lloyd and the fewest scored in a game since Feb. 27, 2020 (48). Princeton worked to keep the possessions low and dictated to the bigger and faster Wildcats how the game was played.
Tosan Evbuomwan led the Tigers with 15 points.