Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Princeton Flops on Glass Slipper Tigers Fall to Bulldogs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Princeton Flops on Glass Slipper Tigers Fall to Bulldogs

Article excerpt

Within, Pete Carril knows he will one day release the anguish - "Tormenting, tormenting! - of the last of the 798 games he coached at Princeton University.

"You can't sleep in a bed of nails all your life," he said, shrugging.

But on Saturday, Princeton's miserable 63-41 loss to Mississippi State in a second-round game of the NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional hovered over all else.

Those 525 victories of his seemed remote fiction, and the charm of his team's fascinating upstage of defending national champion UCLA on Thursday now was boomeranging.

"I don't like that the people . . . at UCLA might be thinking that was a fluke," said Carril, 65, who announced his retirement last week. "I don't think we honored our victory over UCLA and that's very discomforting to me."

But a transfixed basketball nation still will cherish Gabe Lewullis' backdoor cut for the game-winning basket in the 43-41 victory over UCLA long after it forgets Princeton flopped in the second round. The game's exalted status was confirmed Friday, when Carril was invited to be a guest on an upcoming Tonight Show and avoided his hotel because of all the incoming messages from strangers.

And Princeton still was the neutral fan's fancy when it took the floor at the RCA Dome, where the suddenly partisan crowd of 32,293 was about 7,000 more than saw Princeton play in its 11 home games combined this season.

"As hokey as it sounds," Mississippi State coach Richard Williams said, "it was really a thrill and an honor to just coach against Pete."

But just as Carril resisted references to it being his final game ("Sentimental hogwash," he called it), Williams also wasn't one to overindulge him. His fifth-seeded Bulldogs, who play No. 1 seed Connecticut next week in Lexington, Ky., might not have feared Princeton. But they clearly respected the Tigers' capabilities, and that kept them committed to their game plan. …

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