Jan 30, 2002
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Chris Thomas and David Graves each scored 19 points and Ryan Humphrey added 17 as Notre Dame broke out of a seven-game shooting slump, making 66.7 percent of its shots in an 89-76 victory over No. 21 Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh entered the game giving up an average of 57.3 points, second fewest in the nation. The Irish had 49 points at halftime and led by 28 points. It was only the third time this season the Panthers have given up more than 70 points and the 89 points were the most given up by Pittsburgh since a 96-93 loss to Villanova in double overtime four years ago.
The Irish (14-6, 4-3 Big East) swept the two-game regular-season series with the Panthers (18-4, 6-3) for the second straight year. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame, which had shot 49 percent in its first 12 games, had shot just 38.9 percent over its last seven and had shot better than 40 percent only once in the Big East, shooting 41.2 percent in a 60-51 win over Seton Hall on Saturday.
But after missing two of three shots to open the game Wednesday night, the Irish went 8-of-10 in a 17-0 run to take a 20-4 lead. Six players scored during the run as the Panthers went 0-of-7 and turned the ball over five times.
For the Panthers, the start was reminiscent of their first game against the Irish when they were held to five points in the opening 13 minutes. But in that game the Irish led only 21-14 at halftime and Pittsburgh opened the second half with a 10-1 run to move ahead.
The Panthers never cut the lead to single digits, but their full-court press forced 16 second-half turnovers and they cut the lead to 15 points with more than five minutes to go. But a 6-1 spurt by the Irish ended the threat.
The game got physical in the second half with 64 fouls called after 15 were called in the first half.
The game was stopped for several minutes with 9:30 left as players and coaches met at halfcourt after some hard pushing under the Notre Dame basket by both teams. Pittsburgh’s Ontario Lett was called for a personal foul and Lett and Humphrey were called for technicals.
Pittsburgh’s Chad Johnson was called for another technical after he pushed Jordan Cornette with 1:22 left.
Brandin Knight had 20 points and seven assists for the Panthers, Jaron Brown had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Chavon Troutman had 12 points and seven rebounds as Pittsburgh shot 50 percent in the second half after being held to 33.3 percent in the first.
Matt Carroll had 15 points for Notre Dame and Thomas added eight assists. Harold Swanagan, who sat out the last two games with a sprained left ankle, had seven rebounds as the Irish, who had been outrebounded in four of their last five games, had a 34-29 advantage.