Jan. 24, 2011
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ben Hansbrough and Notre Dame made Pittsburgh feel the burn Monday night.
Hansbrough scored 19 points, Carleton Scott had 16 and the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish beat No. 2 Pittsburgh 56-51, snapping the Panthers’ 20-game home winning streak.
Employing a methodical, plodding game plan they call “burn,” the Irish won their third consecutive game in the series against Pittsburgh and picked up their first victory at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers won 51 of their previous 52 home games.
“This was the first time we committed to an all-out ‘burn,’ and we beat Pitt doing it two times last year,” said Hansbrough, who went 8 for 14 from the field. “This is probably the best win I’ve had … maybe ever.”
Scott went 5 for 6 from 3-point range as Notre Dame (17-4, 6-3 Big East) earned its first road win of the season. Scott Martin made three 3s and finished with 10 points.
“We knew if we didn’t concentrate at the end of the clock, we would lose here by 15 like everybody else does,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “They’re really good. They’re hard to guard. They’re really hard to keep off the boards. This was the absolute road challenge for us.”
Gilbert Brown had 13 points for the Panthers (19-2, 7-1), who shot 40 percent (18 of 45) from the field in their first conference loss of the season.
Pittsburgh’s Brad Wanamaker, who finished with 12 points, said he knew what to expect from the winding shot clock on Notre Dame’s opening possession.
“From the jump, I knew they were going to do it,” Wanamaker said. “For them, it’s worked the past three games.”
Notre Dame trailed 28-23 at halftime but Hansbrough made a jumper with 9:22 left to tie it at 39, kicking off a 9-2 spurt for the Fighting Irish. Scott, who recently returned from a four-game absence due to a balky hamstring, capped the run with a four-point play, making a 3 as he was fouled by Ashton Gibbs.
Wanamaker converted a layup to trim Notre Dame’s lead to 54-51 with 1:26 remaining but Hansbrough scored with 17 seconds to go to help the Irish hang on.
Pitt missed four of its final five field-goal tries, including three 3-point attempts and a layup.
We didn’t make the plays down at the end that we needed to make in a game like this,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said.
Hansbrough also had seven assists and Scott added nine rebounds for Notre Dame, which shot 49 percent (19 for 39).
“He’s a big part of our team,” Brey said of the 6-foot-8 Scott’s return.
Pittsburgh outrebounded the Irish 29-23 but went 9 for 16 from the free-throw line and finished with only nine assists. The loss came on the same day the Panthers reached as high as No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since March 9, 2009.
Gibbs, who entered averaging a team-best 15.9 points per game, made 4 of 13 shots to finish with nine points.
Notre Dame now has nine days before its next game, Feb. 3 at DePaul. It’s the longest layoff of the season for the Irish.