BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Branshea Brown scored a career-high 22 points to lead Kansas State past Princeton 67-64 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
The senior forward, who scored 12 points in the first half, also had seven rebounds for the eighth-seeded Wildcats, who advanced to Monday’s second round.
K-State, which led 31-27 at halftime, took its largest lead of the game at 53-45 with 8:16 to play, but found itself holding on in the final minutes against a Princeton team that entered the game having won 17 straight.
¬Princeton — the Ivy League’s highest-ever seed at No. 9 — climbed back into the game and got within one with 6:51 to play on a 3-pointer from Lauren Edwards that capped a Tigers 7-0 run.
K-State (20-13) answered, though, with a three-point play from Jalana Childs to put the Wildcats back up four with 6:28 remaining. Childs finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Then after a Tigers bucket on the other end, Mariah White kept K-State in the lead with a pair of free throws. The junior point guard finished with nine points, including a clutch 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a one-point advantage earlier in the second half.
But again, Princeton (24-5) came back and pulled within two on a basket from Devona Allgood at 58-56 with 5:42 remaining.
That’s when Brown went back to work, scoring on three straight K-State possessions to give the Wildcats a 64-58 lead with 1:42 to play.
The Wildcats shot 46 percent from the field, while Princeton was 43 percent from the field with 14 turnovers — leading to 21 K-State points.