Notre Dame Basketball

Irish Advance with 60-58 Win Over Princeton

March 16, 2017
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Free throw shooting had never been an issue for the Irish as they had shot close to 80% on the season. However, that free throw shooting turned ugly and it nearly cost the Irish the game. After a missed three by the Princeton Tigers, the Irish held on for a 60-58 first round victory at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

The Irish snapped the Tigers 19-game winning streak with the win and it advanced them to the second round to play the winner of West Virginia and Bucknell.

The Irish shot 40.4% from the field and were led by Bonzie Colson's 18 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers shot 38.6% and were led Spencer Weisz who scored 15.

Devin Cannady's three was long with just under a second left and Steve Vasturia iced it from the line from there, giving the Irish a heart-stopping first round victory over the Tigers.

The Irish were just 14-21 from the foul line.

Matt Farrell opened the second half with a driving layup, giving the Irish an eight point lead, matching their largest of the game. Amir Bell hit a fallaway jumper to cut the lead to six with 15:47 left in the game.

Farrell hit yet another three, giving the Irish a nine point lead, the largest of the game to that point for either team. After another dunk, this time by Colson, the Tigers called time with 13:37 to play and the Irish leading 45-34.

At the midway point of the half, the Irish held a 47-39 advantage but it could have been larger if not for some untimely turnovers. A four-point play by Cannady got the Tigers within five with 8:35 left in the game.

The Tigers got to within three after a long scoreless drought of over two minutes by the Irish. Farrell stopped the bleeding with a free throw but the Irish had missed five foul shots up to that point. The lead was 55-51 for the Irish going into the final TV timeout with 3:51 left.

Farrell opened the scoring with an open three off a nice pass from Colson. Weisz answered soon after with corner three for the Tigers. The Irish held a 7-3 lead at the first TV timeout of the half. The Tigers opened the game shooting just one for six.

After a 6-0 Tiger run, Martinas Geben scored off an offensive rebound after Colson went to the bench. Both teams traded baskets until the Tigers took their first lead at 17-15 after a three point play by Amir Bell with 11:24 to play in the half.

At the midway point of the half, the Irish held a slim, two point lead at 19-17. With both teams shooting under 40%, neither team could get a sizable lead. The Irish lead was 21-17 with 7:26 to go in the half. The lead extended to eight after a couple easy buckets including a dunk by Matt Ryan, giving him two for the game(yes, you read that correctly).

However, the Tigers wouldn't go away as the closed the gap to 27-23 thanks to back to back threes by Weisz and Cannady. At the final TV timeout of the half, the Irish led 31-28 with 2:08 to go.

The Irish lead was 36-30 at halftime with them shooting 46.7% compared to the Tigers 37.5%. Colson led the Irish with 10 points and Weisz had a game-high 11 for the Tigers.

­NOTES
Player of the Game: Colson. The junior had 18 points and seven rebounds and some clutch buckets late in the game to give the Irish some comfort.

Unsung Hero: Farrell. The senior scored 16 points, including three three-pointers and was huge defensively down the stretch including the close-out on Cannady's attempted winning shot.

Up Next: The winner of West Virginia-Bucknell will take on the Irish on Saturday in Buffalo.
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Irish Advance with 60-58 Win Over Princeton

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