Jan 12, 2002
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH – David Graves hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining and Notre Dame scored the final eight points to upset No. 23 Pittsburgh 56-53 Saturday night and end the Panthers’ 10-game winning streak.
The Irish (12-3, 2-1 Big East), rallying to win on the road for the second straight game, opened up a 20-10 lead by holding Pittsburgh (15-2, 3-1) to five points over the first 13 minutes, then fell behind by five points in the second half before coming back.
Pitt star Brandin Knight, forced to take hurried, off-balance shots all night, was held to 13 points as the Panthers, off to their best start since the 1973-74 team opened 22-1, lost in their first home game since returning to the Top 25.
Pitt, the nation’s best defensive team, wound up losing because it couldn’t solve Notre Dame’s defense at the start or the finish while shooting 34.5 percent.
The Panthers shot 20.7 percent in the first half then, after repeatedly getting the ball inside against the smaller Irish during a 16-2 run in the second half, couldn’t score when they had to in their first homecourt loss in 12 games.
The Panthers led 53-48 on Donatas Zavackas’ 3-pointer with 2:43 remaining, but didn’t score again. Graves hit a 3-pointer from the wing to get the Irish within two points, and Matt Carroll – who scored a game-high 15 points – tied it with two free throws with 1:42 to go.
After Zavackas missed what would have been a go-ahead shot and Ryan Humphrey rebounded with 1:16 remaining, Graves hit his second 3-pointer down the stretch for what proved the game’s final points. Graves and Humphrey each scored 12 points as Notre Dame shot better from 3-point range (40 percent) than it did overall (38.9 percent).
Knight then missed at the other end for Pitt, but the Panthers got one more chance to tie it when Ontario Lett blocked Humphrey’s shot. But Jaron Brown took a wild, off-balance shot at the top of the key with more than enough time left to get a good shot, and the Irish rebounded and ran out the clock.
Notre Dame, which lost its only other game against a ranked team this season when it was beaten by then-No. 21 Alabama, trailed by as many as 18 points Wednesday before rallying to win 67-64 at West Virginia.