Dennis gates keeps it brief in sideline interview as Missouri trails Princeton in 1st half of Round of 32

Utah State v Missouri
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: Head coach Dennis Gates of the Missouri Tigers reacts against the Utah State Aggies during the first half in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 16, 2023 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Amid a slow start for No. 7 seed Missouri against No. 15 Princeton with a spot in the Sweet Sixteen on the line, Mizzou head coach Dennis Gates was brief in a sideline interview with TNT’s Dana Jacobson.

A little more than eight minutes into the game, Princeton held a meager lead over Missouri and was getting shots to fall. Gates wasn’t too concerned, but he didn’t sugarcoat the situation, either.

“Well they’re making shots,” Gates said. “We’ve gotta do a better job of staying down on shot fakes and contest shots.”

Jacobson followed up and asked if Gates was content with the more methodical pace of the game. He had ever fewer words to answer that question.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Gates said.

Play-by-play commentator Brad Nessler joked that he was “a man of few words” as Jacobson tossed back to the scorers’ table.

Unfortunately for Gates and Missouri, Princeton kept the pressure up and went on an 11-3 run to take a 24-14 lead at the under-eight media timeout. Fortunately for Gates, his squad finally got out of first gear and a scoring spurt late in the first half trimmed the deficit to seven points. But that was short-lived.

As the second half played out, it was Princeton that built a sizable lead and simply suffocated their SEC competition out of the game. Through most of the second half, it felt like a forgone conclusion that Princeton would win. And they did, toppling Missouri, 78-63.

With the win, Princeton made multiple pieces of history, including winning by the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 15 seed.

The Sweet Sixteen appearance is the first for Princeton since 1967 when only 23 teams even made the NCAA Tournament. It is also the first for an Ivy League school since Cornell made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 2010.

Leading the charge for Princeton were guard Ryan Langborg, who scored a game-high 22 points, and Blake Peters, who scored 17 points in just 15 minutes off the bench. Peters torched the Missouri defense from deep, especially, going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.

And with a matchup in the Sweet Sixteen against either No. 3 seed Baylor or No. 6 seed Creighton, Princeton will have at least one more opportunity to show they’re more than just a Cinderella and truly a force to be reckoned with in the NCAA Tournament.