SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As the final minute ticked off the clock, the Princeton fans started chanting "Sweet 16! Sweet 16!" and Coach Mitch Henderson cleared the bench with the victory easily in hand.
This upset was no small-school fluke against a more heralded team. It was a thoroughly dominating performance that sent Princeton to a place it hadn't been in more than a half-century.
Blake Peters made five three-pointers in the second half and the No. 15 seed shocked another power conference team to reach the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals for the first time in 56 years by beating Missouri 78-63 on Saturday.
"The world looks at us as two upsets," forward Tosan Evbuomwan said. "But I feel like we're supposed to be here. We have a lot of confidence in one another, what we're doing. There's definitely no letup with this group."
Princeton (23-8) followed up a first-round win over Pac-12 tournament champion Arizona by overwhelming 10th seeded Missouri (25-10) of the SEC from the start.
The Ivy League school known for giving powerhouses scares and occasionally pulling off upsets a generation ago has reached the round of 16 for the first time since 1967 when only 23 teams even made the tournament.
"I have no words for you," Peters said. "We have such an unbelievable section [of fans] here. I have the best teammates in the world. I love each and every one of them. When we go out and believe in each other, anything is possible. I know it's cliche, but anything is possible."
Princeton will play the winner of today's game between Baylor and Creighton in the Sweet 16 in Louisville, Ky., on Friday night.
The Tigers will be the second Ivy League school to make the Sweet 16 in the past 43 tournaments, joining Cornell in 2010. No team from the academically prestigious league that doesn't give athletic scholarships has gone further since Penn made the Final Four in 1979.
"I've always dreamed of playing deep into the tournament," said Henderson, a player on Princeton's teams in 1996 and '98 that won first-round games. "As a player, got to the second round a couple times. Never got beyond it."
This marks the third consecutive year a team seeded 15th made it to the Sweet 16, following Oral Roberts in 2021 and fellow New Jersey school Saint Peter's last year. The only other time a 15 seed made it this far came in 2012 when Florida Gulf Coast did it.
Ryan Langborg led Princeton with 22 points and Peters added 17.
DeAndre Gholston scored 19 points and Noah Carter added 14 for Missouri, which was seeking its first berth in the Sweet 16 since 2009.
"We were able to get the lead one time," Coach Dennis Gates said. "We held the lead for 30 seconds in the entire game. Every time we got the lead or when they had the lead, we cut it to six, they came back down and did what a good team would do: Make a shot or make a play."
Princeton showed no signs of being outclassed against another power conference team, controlling the play from the start. Keeshawn Kellman had two dunks and a blocked shot in a span of 16 seconds midway through the half.
Princeton built the lead to 10 points on a corner three-pointer by Zach Martini and went up 33-19 on a drive by Evbuomwan.
Missouri responded by scoring the final seven points of the half to go into the break down seven.
Every time Missouri threatened early in the second half, Princeton had an answer with Peters hitting five three-pointers. The fourth gave Princeton a 62-43 lead and Missouri never threatened after that.
"Blake Peters has been making shots coming off the bench for us for weeks," Henderson said. "This is a very, very confident group. We are so thrilled to be going to the Sweet 16. It is an absolute pleasure being around these guys. They just grit their teeth and they do it."
SAN DIEGO STATE 75, FURMAN 52
ORLANDO, Fla. — San Diego State had little trouble ending the run of March Madness darling Furman, getting 16 points from Micah Parrish to pace a balanced scoring attack and pulling away for a 75-52 win on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler added 12 and leading scorer Matt Bradley finished with 10 for San Diego State (29-6), which is heading to its first Sweet 16 since 2004.
The fifth-seeded Aztecs have won 11 of their past 13 games to reach the South Region semifinals in Louisville, Ky.
San Diego State is the first Mountain West Conference team to reach the Sweet 16 since Nevada in 2018. It’ll be the third regional semifinal appearance for the Aztecs and the seventh for the Mountain West overall.
San Diego State led 39-25 at the half, getting 14 points off the bench from Parrish and limiting Furman to one field goal over the final 11 minutes leading into the break.
Mike Bothwell led the 13th-seeded Paladins (28-8) with 15 points. Alex Williams had 11 and Pegues finished with 11 as Furman shot 32%, including 6 of 26 from three-point range.
ALABAMA 73, MARYLAND 51
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Brandon Miller heated up and so did Alabama, which brushed aside Maryland behind a dominant second half.
The Crimson Tide (31-5) advanced to their second Sweet 16 in the past three tournaments and ninth overall. Alabama will face fifth-seeded San Diego State in the South Region semifinals in Louisville, Ky., on Friday.
Alabama and Miller got off to a slow start but the All-America freshman and top NBA prospect wound up with 19 points after going scoreless in the first-round game. Miller is nursing a groin injury and missed his first nine shots of the tournament.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 22 points on the one-year anniversary of his left knee injury early in a second-round loss to Notre Dame, which still limited him early this season. Quinerly made 4 of 6 three-pointers.
Julian Reese had 14 points for Maryland (22-13) before fouling out. Jahmir Young