Photo Caption #2: Princeton forward Will Gladson (13) goes up for a shot against Notre Dame during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. The Fighting Irish have also won seven of nine tournament games over the past three years, and they are the only team to reach the Elite Eight in each of the past two seasons. However, it became clear in the opening minutes that this game would come down to Princeton stopping the inside pressure of the Irish. He calmed his players down, and while the storm continued to rage, Notre Dame made just enough plays - and Princeton not quite enough - to escape with the win. Bonzie Colson is a menace down low and if he gets going he could really put a damper on anything Princeton has going on. "We need to send a message to start this half". 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.
"If it were anyone else on our team, we would have stitched them, but since he's from Hollywood, we glued him so he doesn't as as big of a scar so he can go into the movie business afterwords", Brey joked. Princeton, which trailed nearly the entire game, sliced the deficit to 55-54 and had a chance to go ahead.
Princeton played from behind for most of the game, leading only once, midway through the first half. Amir Bell took a feed from Myles Stephens and drove it inside, making the layup and one and converting the three point play. The Tigers would never lead in the game again. At winning time, when the Irish were beginning to unravel and missing open jump shots, Colson was there to save them. "They did a great job but I was pleased with the chances that we had".
On the afternoon, Princeton shot a regrettable 8-for-31 from three. The Irish (25-9) seem to be peaking at the right time as they advanced to the ACC Tournament championship game before losing to Duke (27-8).
"We've had an unbelievable run in close games", Brey said. "We brought more toughness late in the second half". Spencer Weisz led Princeton with 15 points. "If your offense isn't falling you can have that to fall back on". We've got your back. Then the madness ensued. Then, with 19 seconds left, Miller's putback of a missed three by Cook cut the lead to 59-58. After Farrell (an 80% free throw shooter) missed another foul shot, the Tigers were unable to make a basket to win it. 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.
Irish head coach Mike Brey told reporters that he prepared two speeches on the bus ride over to KeyBank Arena: one if Notre dame won, and another if Notre Dame lost. Many people thought the same thing.
Matt Farrell led the way with 16 points, five assists, and two steals. The Irish won't be alive long if Colson isn't healthy and a threat at the rim.
However, perhaps the best moment of today came in the conference room after the game.
"No matter how it looked, we got the win and that's all that matters", Colson said. "16 and 0 in the Ivy League, and getting the program back to the winning ways, it's been an unbelievable season and I've done it with people I can call family ".