BUFFALO, NY — It came down to the final possession, but the No. 5 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish avoided the upset Thursday afternoon and defeated the No. 12 seed Princeton Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 60-58.
Princeton guard and Mishawaka native Devin Cannady missed a go-ahead three-point attempt in the waning seconds for the Tigers, who remained close the entire way, despite leading for less than 20 seconds of the game.
The opportunity to win the game came after Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10.6 seconds left.
Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 18 points, while Farrell added 16.
The Irish controlled the scoreboard for the entirety of the day, but were never able to put the Tigers away. A double-digit lead in the second half quickly evaporated down the stretch as the Irish struggled to score.
“This is March, man,” Colson said. “This is what March is about. We won, man. Everybody’s happy; everybody’s confident. We get to play again. It’s a blessing.
The Irish advance to take on the No. 4 seed in the West region, the West Virginia Mountaineers, on Saturday. Tip-time will be announced sometime later this evening.
The win also marks the seventh-career NCAA Tournament victory for seniors like V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia.
“Man, tough, gritty wins like that, they’re really the best, finding a way to do it in the NCAA Tournament,” Beachem said. “Just finding ways to win that’s what it’s all about.”