The Princeton Tigers play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the NCAA Men's basketball Tournament March Madness on Thursday, start time at 12:15 PM ET, at First Niagara Center, Buffalo. From there, Princeton's Devin Cannady, who entered the game tied with Cook at 13.7 points per game to lead the team, bricked what would have been a game-tying 3. Pete Miller put back a missed Cannady 3-pointer with 54 seconds left. Guard Matt Farrell scored 16 points, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with Notre Dame up 59-58.
For the Tigers, the star was Spencer Weisz, who was 6-for-11 from the field, scoring 15 points. Head coach Mike Brey has repeatedly called this his "best defensive team" he's had in his 17 seasons at Notre Dame. Collectively, the Tigers finished 8-for-31 from 3-point range and finished minus-three in rebounding after Notre Dame held a 23-14 edge at halftime. Last year, the Irish trailed by 12 at halftime before beating MI; trailed with two seconds left before Rex Pflueger's tip-in downed Stephen F. Austin; and trailed by three with less than 30 seconds remaining before they topped Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
When you've been to the Final Eight the last two years, you don't want your career to end in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament against a 12 seed.
Weisz, the Ivy League Player of the Year, says he's happy with what they've accomplished.
So six tournament wins in two seasons is a big deal, especially at a university known as a football school. They almost blew a second-half 11-point lead.
In stitches: Fighting Irish guard Rex Pflueger left the game about six minutes in with a cut to his left forehead after being elbowed by Princeton's Cook, who was driving the lane.
Fortunately for Princeton, Notre Dame didn't shoot much better in the second half.
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Funnily enough-and fitting for the opener to the madness-Notre Dame missed a free throw while up one, only for Princeton to miss a game-winning try from deep.
The Princeton game reminded Brey of Notre Dame's first-round scare against Northeastern two tournaments ago. "We've been through a lot of those game situations". 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. They contested every shot that Cannady (a 42 percent three-point shooter) took from the perimeter and limited Myles Stephens to just 3-of-12 shooting.
Princeton had one more shot, but missed a three-point attempt as time expired. He scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
More than anything, though, Notre Dame permitted the Tigers some wiggle room to gun for a comeback, struggling to hit free throws.
"We've had an unbelievable run in close games", Brey said. It was a great look.
"This might be the hardest (game to win in the tourney)", Vasturia said. But we can cherish the legacy that they leave us with. It looked like the Bulldogs might have the albatross of an unbeaten record coming into the tournament before a late season loss to BYU.