Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Notre Dame survives upset bid by Princeton in NCAA Tournament opener

Notre Dame survives upset bid by Princeton in NCAA Tournament opener

Notre Dame survived Princeton, 60-58, in a classic 5-12 match-up at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York to advance to play the victor of West Virginia and Bucknell in the second round.

No. 13 Vermont (29-5), champions of America East, is an intriguing team since they come in riding the longest win streak in the country (21 games). Then, with 19 seconds left, Miller's putback of a missed three by Cook cut the lead to 59-58.

Behind Matt Farrell's 16 points and five assists, Notre Dame used their defense to secure the win against Princeton.

The Irish were able to rattle off a 10-0 run during the Tigers' cold shooting stretch, but Spencer Weisz provided a response with a deep three and assisted on another triple as Princeton closed the gap to two in the blink of an eye.

Following a Steve Vasturia wing 3 with 8:43 remaining, which put the Irish up eight, they didn't get another field goal until 2:03 remained on a Bonzie Colson flip shot to give the Irish a three-point lead.

Princeton's struggles on the offensive end hurt them late in the second half. Little-used junior forward Jackson Forbes talked of how he'd had to miss last weekend's Ivy League tournament, where the Tigers won their berth to the 64-team juggernaut, in order to finish a project for an architecture class.

"Not many people get a lot of opportunities to play in the NCAA Tournament". Notre Dame, the fifth seed in the West, appeared poised to advance in tame fashion, seizing an 11-point lead early in the second half.

Like it had throughout the first half, however, Princeton refused to go down by double digits and brought the game back within six.

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Some of the most intriguing games on the tournament's opening day will include 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee State (30-4) against Minnesota (24-9). Cannady took the shot, the ball careened just out, and the Tigers would put Notre Dame on the line with 0.4 seconds to go, ending their chances of a win.

Princeton sent a cross-court inbounds pass to set up a Tiger with a three from the left corner with 20 seconds to play and three points to make up.

"We asked ourselves what we wanted to make of this game" Weisz noted.

The narrative was already taking shape in V.J. Beachem's mind when the ball left Princeton guard Devin Cannady's hands. The Fighting Irish fell in the ACC Tournament finals to Duke on Saturday night, but they should be back in full form and ready to go in this one. The Tigers would then be forced to foul Notre Dame's Matt Farrell who missed his first free throw off the one and one.

"We're a very confident team, whether it be what we've done this regular season or what we've done in the postseason in the past", Beachem said.

In 2017, it was almost just one.

"We've done game situations from the first practice of the season", Colson said. He scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. "I don't think I helped our team sometimes". We chased them off stuff.

Princeton finished the season with a record of 23-7.

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