SACRAMENTO, CA – Despite being double-digits favorites, 2nd-Seeded Arizona Basketball (28-7, 14-6) fell flat to Princeton, losing 59-55.
Kicking off NCAA Tournament action against 15th-seeded Princeton, Arizona Basketball looked poised entering the Round of 64, especially after coming off an impressive Pac-12 Tournament run just last weekend.
Coming in, the Wildcats were double-digit favorites and even were a trendy pick to make a deep tournament run this season by several analysts, that is until the Tigers of the Ivy League said otherwise.
Outplaying Arizona virtually from the tip, the Wildcats were held to just 55 points on 42.1 percent shooting from the field including 3-16 (18.8 percent) from three, as shockingly, the Wildcats lost by a 59-55 final.
Outside of Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo who led the team in scoring with 22 and 13 points respectively, this one was largely a day to forget as the Wildcats’ bench was outplayed, with no one else that stepped up.
Despite Arizona Basketball trying to pull away several times, the Wildcats let Princeton hang for too long, eventually falling to a hungrier Tigers team.
Needing the energy from the tip, this one would start a bit flat for the Wildcats, especially as Princeton hung tough early and battled to keep it close.
Granted, Arizona would begin to find its rhythm late in the first half, using an 11-4 run to pull ahead by as many as nine in the first half at 31-22 with 3:58 to play.
But unfortunately, Princeton would close out the half by outscoring Arizona 8-0 to make it 31-30 at halftime.
Hoping to find its momentum and distance itself in the second half, things would look promising early on, especially as Arizona opened the half by outscoring Princeton 16-5 over the first nine-plus minutes of play to lead 47-35.
Unfortunately, that would be one of the few bright spots for Arizona in this one.
Scoring just eight points over the final 11 minutes of play, Princeton would come roaring back, using a 21-8 run to pull ahead by one at 56-55.
The Wildcats would have no response from there, especially as the Tigers pulled away in the end, securing the biggest upset in the NCAA Tournament thus far with the 59-55 win over Arizona.
With the loss, the Wildcats end their season with a 28-7 (14-6) record and will have some tough personnel decisions to make as they head into the offseason. For now, it is going to be a LONG off-season in Tucson!