Notre Dame survives upset bid by Princeton in NCAA Tournament opener

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Spencer Weisz #10 of the Princeton Tigers shoots the ball against Steve Vasturia #32 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Over the past two seasons, Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament runs have lasted four games.

In 2017, it was nearly just one.

But Mike Brey was able to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of 40 minutes in their first round game in Buffalo – just barely.

The fifth-seeded Irish saw a nine-point lead evaporate in the final nine minutes against the 12-seeded Tigers in their nail-biting West Region opener on Thursday in Buffalo. Notre Dame has their lead cut all the way down to one but never lost it in sneaking out of the Key Bank Center with a 60-58 victory.

With the win the Irish advance to the second round of the tournament where they will face the winner of the West Virginia-Bucknell game later this afternoon.

Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 18 points and scored four of the final five points for the Irish as they held off a late charge from Princeton. The Tigers got within one on a tip in by Pete Miller with 19 seconds left and after a defensive stop had a shot for the victory. But Devin Cannady’s three-point attempt in the final seconds was no good as the Irish held on for the win.

Matt Farrell also had 16 points for the Irish with Steve Vasturia adding ten of his own.