WATCH: Chris Collins, Northwestern celebrate NCAA Tournament win

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Northwestern won its first NCAA Tournament game in dramatic fashion on Thursday evening.

The No. 8 seed in the West Region nearly blew a sizable lead against No. 9 seed Vanderbilt. But a wild finish led to the Wildcats escaping with a 68-66 victory.

After rollercoaster two hours — on top of the seven decades Northwestern has waited for its One Shining Moment — it was time to celebrate.

Northwestern advances to face top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round on Saturday in Salt Lake City.