A quick look at Princeton-Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament

Lance King

In one of the biggest games of Princeton's history, the Tigers gave Notre Dame everything they had and came up just short.

Notre Dame came into NCAA Tournament play having won eight of its last 10.

Irish coach Mike Brey after the game, "We weren't in the best of offensive rhythm where we had to win it with our defense".

Notre Dame 60, Princeton 58 - Bonzie Colson scored 18 points and Notre Dame survived a first-round NCAA Tournament scare by pulling out a 60-58 win over Princeton. As Mitch Henderson notes "We were a little impatient throughout the first half".

For Princeton, they had a successful season as they ran through the Ivy League and lost only one game (this one) after the end of December.

In other words, seeing exams fall in the midst of Princeton's one shining moment - the school's first trip to the tournament since 2011 - wasn't exactly a stroke of fortuitous scheduling. But the Tigers managed the pace of the game and held Notre Dame well below its season average of 78 points per game. Princeton began playing sloppier than they had in the first 20 minutes, turning the ball over nine times.

This was going to be yet another escape for the Irish at KeyBank Center. "They got all the loose balls, they forced turnovers, they grabbed the rebounds, and we fell behind because of it". As the leader of this team, the junior point guard carried his unit to victory once more this season. Notre Dame coughed up five in the second half while Princeton surged back. That made it 45-34 at 13:41 - the first time the Irish advantage had jumped into double digits. "That showed in the ACC Tournament that we became more detailed in that aspect of the game".

The Princeton Tigers (23-6) are coming from a 71-59 win over the Yale Bulldogs to capture the Ivy League Championship game in which Myles Stephens scored 23 points in 8-for-14 field goal and 4-7 free throws. Weisz's reverse layup at the 11:30 mark trimmed the lead to six, and it was evident that the frustration was mounting for the Irish.


The slipper didn't fit for the Princeton Tigers. "In a situation like that, you're trying to do everything you can to claw back". A late foul put Steve Vasturia at the free throw line, where he went 1-for-1 for the final 60-58 score.

Peter Miller's tip in brought the Tigers within one with 16 seconds left. Then the madness ensued.

Between Colson's status and Rex Pflueger taking six stitches in the first half from an elbow to the forehead, Brey for a millisecond thought maybe it wasn't going to be Notre Dame's day.

Bonzie Colson hit a a shot and two more free throws to expand Notre Dame's lead to five, 59-54.

Both Notre Dame and Princeton had hit high percentages of three-pointers, committed precious few turnovers, nearly always made the extra passes and knocked down free throws as well as any other teams in the country.

With 8:35 left in the game, Cannady nailed a three in the corner and was fouled by Farrell. Many people thought the same thing.

The Tigers had plenty of open looks for their best shooters, Cannady and Cook (both 42% from 3), down the stretch, but those shots just wouldn't drop.

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