The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers in dramatic fashion in Pittsburgh this evening, winning by a final score of 68 to 67 after senior guard Prentiss Hubb drained a go-ahead shot with just over 5 seconds remaining.
The Irish were led in the winning effort by Paul Atkinson Jr., who scored 16 points and added 8 rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes of the contest. Hubb (15 points, 3-for-5 from long range), Blake Wesley (12 points, 3 assists) and Dane Goodwin (11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) also made solid contributions to the overall Irish performance, as the team shot 42% from the field and 45.5% from long range.
The Irish uncharacteristically lost the turnover battle 11 to 6, but also managed to out-rebound the Panthers 32-26 on the evening.
For Pittsburgh, the Panthers were led by John Hugley (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), while Jamarius Burton (15 points, 4 rebounds), Mouhamadou Gueye (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks), and Femi Odukale (13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) chipped in solid evenings as well. Pitt shot 45% from the floor overall and 36% from deep.
The game began pretty uneventfully, as the first half was a bit of a rock fight between the two teams, neither of whom could put together a lead of more than 3 or 4 points before the other would score to keep within striking distance. The two teams shot a combined 43% from the field and 35% from three-point range, with no one really being able to sustain a considerable run to pull away from the other. They were tied at 30 at the intermission.
In the second half, Pitt responded to a Notre Dame three to open the half with a 9-0 run to take a 6-point lead, and then another big run to take a 53-45 lead with about 8 minutes to play. The Irish countered, though, led by a couple clutch threes from Prentiss Hubb — who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half — and by the 5:40 mark the Irish had cut the deficit to 2.
After a bit of a back-and-forth down the stretch, Wesley found Hubb on a kick-out to the perimeter, and Hubb deftly drained a three to give the Irish a one-point advantage with less than 4 minutes to play. From there, the two teams again traded blows, with Pittsburgh refusing to allow the Irish any breathing room despite some big shots from the outside by the Irish as they looked to add to their cushion.
In the final minute, Pittsburgh converted an and-one bucket to take a one-point lead with about 30 seconds to go, but missed the free throw that would have given the Panthers a 2-point edge. On the ensuing Irish possession, Hubb dribbled around looking to make a play, and as the clock wound down, he managed to knock down a turnaround, fallaway jumper with just 5 seconds to play to give the Irish the slightest of leads. Pittsburgh got one final look on a Jamarius Burton runner at the buzzer, but it missed, and the Irish held on for their first ACC win of the season.
With the win, the Irish improved to 7-5 overall and 1-1 in ACC play on the season. They’re scheduled to play next against the #2 Duke Blue Devils on New Year’s Day at Purcell Pavilion, but that game is currently up in the air due to COVID issues that already forced Duke to postpone their Wednesday game at Clemson.