The Arizona men's basketball team was upset by Princeton University by a score of 59-55 on Thursday, March 16, in the Round of 64 of the NCAA March Madness Tournament in Sacramento, California.
"There's gonna be some bad with a lot of good, and I'm built for it. This is going to be a small setback," Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said. "I'm just sad for these guys because they don't get to feel how special an NCAA run is because they were built to do that."
Arizona is the 11th team in NCAA March Madness history to lose to a No. 15 seed as a No. 2 seed.
Arizona is now the first team to lose to a No. 15 seed while being a No. 2 seed multiple times. Thirty years ago in the 1993 Tournament, Arizona lost to Santa Clara University led by future NBA great Steve Nash.
"If you're playing with fire, you're going to get burned and we did today," Lloyd said.
Arizona struggled early on throughout this game, after only leading by 1 point at the end of the first half. Kerr Kriisa, Cedric Henderson Jr. and Courtney Ramey combined for only 5 points in the half.
Arizona started to build a bigger lead in the second half and got it up to 10 points with 11 minutes left in the game.
From that point, Arizona was outscored 20-6 by Princeton to end the game. Arizona didn't score a basket throughout the final four and a half minutes of the game.
"I didn't think our end-of-game execution, […] our poise is what it has been in close games," Lloyd said.
Oumar Ballo had his second double-double in three games. Ballo totaled 13 points and 12 rebounds on 6-10 shooting from the field.
"I told our guys if you want to be a great player or you want to be a great coach, we all got to learn from this we have to go back and figure what happened," Lloyd said.
Azuolas Tubelis was Arizona's leading scorer in this game with 22 points on 9-20 shooting from the field along with five rebounds and four steals. Although Tubelis missed the potential go-ahead basket for the Wildcats with 46 seconds left, he had an unbelievable season.
Tubelis made the Pac-12 first team and was a second team All-American but his future of where he will play basketball next is unknown right now.
"My thoughts right now are to just to get better, take some time off and get back in the gym," Tubelis said. "I have no idea where I'm going to play."
Arizona's starting backcourt of Ramey and Kriisa combined to shoot the ball 5-17 from the field while scoring 11 points. Kriisa also had four turnovers in the game. He has been going through a shoulder injury throughout the past two games and hasn't been 100 percent.
Arizona shot 18.8% (3-16) from 3-point range while being only 4-7 from the free throw line.
"I think we had a great season, obviously we are still trying to build and develop this program," Lloyd said.
The Princeton Tigers will move on and face off against the University of Missouri who defeated Utah State University in the No. 7 vs No. 10 seed matchup earlier today. That Round of 32 matchups will take place on Saturday, March 18.
"I promise you I'll get better from this. I have a lot of room to grow as a coach and I'm hard on myself every day, and I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and start the process of getting better," Lloyd said. "I love the direction that the program is going; this isn't going to be a setback."
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