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Princeton, Furman headline wild first day of NCAA Tournament

The Tigers knocked off No. 2 seed Arizona, and the Paladins edged No. 4 Virginia

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Princeton vs Arizona
Princeton earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 1998.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of the NCAA Tournament lived up to the name of March Madness. No. 15 Princeton came back to defeat second-seeded Arizona 59-55, and Furman, a 13-seed, topped No. 4 Virginia 68-67.

The Tigers trailed by 11 at halftime and were still down 10 with less than eight minutes left. From that point on, the Ivy League champions outscored the Pac-12 champions 18-4.

Ryan Langborg gave Princeton the lead for good with a layup with two minutes to go. That was part of a 9-0 run to end the game.

Tosan Evbuomwan was the lone Princeton player in double figures with 15 points.

The Tigers’ win marks the third straight year that a 15-seed knocked off a 2-seed. Two years ago, Oral Roberts topped Ohio State and reached the Sweet 16. Last year, Saint Peter’s defeated Kentucky en route to the Elite Eight.

Princeton, who won its first Tournament game in 25 years, will take on No. 7 Missouri as it looks to win two games for the first time since 1983.

Furman also used some late-game heroics to defeat Virginia. The Paladins trailed by four with 19 seconds remaining. A pair of Garrett Hien free throws pulled the Paladins within two. Then in the final seconds, Virginia threw an errant pass, which set up JP Pegues for a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining.

This marks the Furman’s first win in the NCAA Tournament in 48 years. It is also the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1980.

Jalen Slawson led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Marcus Foster followed with 14 points.

The Paladins advance to take on No. 5 San Diego State, who ended Charleston’s magical season with a 63-57 win. Matt Bradley was the lone Aztec in double figures. Ante Brzovic paced the Cougars.

Outside of SDSU, the Mountain West continued to struggle in the NCAA Tournament. Utah State fell to Missouri by 11, and Boise State lost to Northwestern by eight.

All of the other mid-majors who played on Thursday lost.