‘March Madness’ infects Princeton campus . . . and then is dashed by close loss to Notre Dame

Students and non-students gather in the Frist Campus Center TV lounge area to cheer on the Tigers against Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament.

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
For part of Thursday afternoon, the Frist Campus Center at Princeton University was overcome with March Madness., The men’s basketball team was playing in the second half of its NCAA tournament game against Notre Dame, a once 11-point-lead for the Fighting Irish was shrinking and an upset was brewing. Fans roared when Princeton scored or groaned when the team missed a shot., “It’s awesome,” said one student standing in the back of the mass of people crowded into a TV lounge area., In a week when students had midterms, many found time to watch the first appearance in the NCAA tournament for Princeton since 2011, when current undergrads were but children., Gregory McCord, a Princeton student, had faith in his team, enough to pencil them into the Elite Eight in his tournament bracket. He had come from a midterm, and was watching the TV along with fellow student Manasseh Matossian., Even non-students were taking in the action. Jeff Crespy, an auditor, was rooting for Princeton to pull off the upset. But it was not to be., Princeton’s Devin Cannady, who grew up in Indiana not far from Notre Dame, rose for a three-pointer in the closing seconds, with his team down a point., He missed. Notre Dame would get the rebound, make one of two free throws and Princeton never had a chance at a good shot at the buzzer. A season that saw the team win 19 games in a row and the Ivy League championship ended with 60-58 loss., Jason Meyer, a Princeton graduate from 1980 who came to Frist to watch, said afterward it was a “great game.”, “This was the fun place to watch,” he said.

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