The Notre Dame Fighting Irish capped a three-game home stand tonight against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Going into tonight’s game, Notre Dame had a record of 13-8 (4-6 conf), and Pitt had a record of 14-8 (5-6 conf). This was the 66th meeting between Notre Dame and Pitt, with Notre Dame leading the series (heading into the game) with a record of 34-31. Since joining the ACC, seven of Notre Dame’s games against Pittsburgh have been decided by two possessions or less. How did the Fighting Irish do tonight? Lets take a look!
The Irish came out quick with John Mooney hitting a two-point shot, and Rex Pflueger hitting a three-point shot, and with just two minutes expired off the clock the Irish were up 5-4. In the next two minutes Juwan Durham would make a two-point shot, and TJ Gibbs would sink a three-point shot and suddenly the Irish were up 11-4. Pitt finally woke up at 15:55, with Xavier Johnson sinking a three-point shot, bringing the Panthers within four, 11-7 Notre Dame.
Mooney made a layup at 15:19 to go up 13-7, and then Pitt returned with a quick dunk by Terrell Brown, Irish still up, 13-9. Prentiss Hubb then fouls Johnson, who goes to the foul line and makes both shots, 13-11 Notre Dame. Johnson then made a three-point shot, and for the first time the Panthers take the lead, 14-13 Pitt. From that point Pitt went on a five point scoring run before Notre Dame would sink a three-point shot at the hands of TJ Gibbs, 19-16 Pitt. For a team who does not foul much, Notre Dame already has five fouls.
With nine minutes remaining in the half, Notre Dame pulled to within one point on a Mooney bucket in the paint, 19-18 Pitt. Then they reclaimed the lead on a jump shot by Gibbs, 20-19 Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s Nikola Djogo then made two shots from the foul line to go up by three, and Pitt quickly answered with an Eric Hamilton bucket. Notre Dame didn’t take long to respond, with a beautiful transition three-point shot by TJ Gibbs. 25-21 Notre Dame.
The Panthers then responded with a three-point shot of their own at the hands of Trey McGowens. To which Notre Dame responded with a three by Pflueger. 28-24 Irish. Pitt’s Justin Champagnie snuck in a layup to get within two points, and then Pitt’s Eric Hamilton fouled Nate Laszewski, who made both of his free throw shots, 30-26 Notre Dame. (5:00) Mooney then made a layup, which caused Pitt to take a timeout. 32-26 Irish.
After the timeout, Pitt’s Tony Au-diese made a three-point shot, to which Notre Dame responded with a Laszweski two-point shot. 34-29. Pitt, still very much in the game, gets a dunk at the hands of Johnson, are down by three. (34-31 Notre Dame, media timeout.) Following the media timeout, Laszewski was fouled by Terrell Brown, and Laszewski sunk both of his shots from the line. 36-31 Notre Dame. In the last two minutes the scoring continued with a Pitt layup, followed by two three-point shots by Prentiss Hubb, and the Irish go to the locker room up by nine, 42-33.
Here are the numbers at the half. Notre Dame made 14-of-28 two-point shots, 7-of-13 three-point shots, and made 7-of-8 shots from the free throw line. Pitt made 11-of-29 two-point shots, 4-of-9 three-point shots, and made 7-of-8 shots from the free throw line.
As the second half began, both teams came out firing, with Mooney making a two-point shot, followed by Champagnie making a three-point shot. Notre Dame up, 44-36. Durham then made a pretty shot from the paint to go up by 10 points, which was answered by yet another three-point shot from Champagnie, 46-39 Irish. McGowens then made a jump shot, which John Mooney answered with a three-point shot, his first of the evening. 49-41 Notre Dame.
Johnson, and then McGowens, go to the foul line, making three shots between the two of them, which was answered by a two-point jumper by Hubb and the foul, turning that into a three point shot. 52-44 Notre Dame. Goodwin was then fouled, and made both of his shots from the foul line. Notre Dame now up by 10 points. (14:59)
Laszewski snuck in a wide open dunk at 14:18, followed by a Goodwin layup on a fast break, and the Irish are up by 14, (58-44). The Notre Dame scoring continued with a Durham layup, and finally Pitt breaks an over four minute scoring drought with a Champagnie layup. 60-46 Irish.
After a long scoring drought by both teams, Pitt finally sunk a two-point jumper at 9:15, and then the Irish made two quick scores, a two-point John Mooney layup, and a TJ Gibbs three, Notre Dame up by 17 (65-48 Irish).
Pitt tried to get their scoring moving again on a two-point shot by Champagnie, but the Irish responded with two scores, a Mooney layup and a Goodwin jumper. Pitt’s Trey McGowens got back in there with a three point shot, but the Irish are still up by 16 (69-53)
With a little over five minutes to go in the game, Pitt is trying to get back into this game, but the Irish responded to every Pitt score, holding on to their lead. (73-57 Irish) As the final minutes ticked off the clock, Pitt got to within twelve points (75-63) with 3:51, but Notre Dame did not let up. TJ Gibbs made a jumper with 3:28 to go, and the Irish were up by fourteen (77-63 Notre Dame)
With just over two minutes to go Gibbs sunk a three-point shot, followed by Pitt’s Gerald Drumgoole sinking a three of his own. And then the Panthers put their foot on the gas. McGowens made a layup, followed by a Johnson layup, and Pitt was within eight points (80-72). But it was a little too late for the Panthers, as the final seconds would run out on the clock, and the Irish would win by eight points.
Here are the end of game stats. Notre Dame made 30-of-65 two-point shots, 10-of-27 three-point shots, and made 10-of-12 shots from the free throw line. Pitt made 26-of-62 two-point shots, 8-of-19 three point shots, and 12-of-16 shots from the free throw line.
Next up for the Irish they hit the road to play Clemson on Sunday, February 9th, at 6pm EST.
Cheers & GO IRISH!