Jan. 4, 2006
PITTSBURGH — Ronald Ramon hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the second overtime and No. 22 Pittsburgh withstood Chris Quinn’s 37 points and frantic Notre Dame comebacks at the end of regulation and the first overtime to rally for 100-97 victory Wednesday night.
Aaron Gray scored a career-high 25 points and Carl Krauser added 21 points, but it was freshman Sam Young who did much of unbeaten Pitt’s important scoring. He had only two points until late in the second half, but finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Pitt opened a season 12-0 for only the fifth time in its 100 years of basketball.
Quinn scored 30 of his 37 points after halftime, including a remarkable 16 consecutive Irish points late in the second half. Notre Dame, which came in on a seven-game winning streak, rallied from nine points behind with 45 seconds left in the second half to tie it at 77 on two late 3-pointers by Colin Falls.
And, if one comeback wasn’t enough, Quinn then hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup in the final 18 seconds of the first overtime to force another 5 minutes in the Big East Conference opener for both teams. The Irish (9-3) took advantage of Pitt’s 8-of-15 free throw shooting in the first overtime to rally from seven points down with 21 seconds left.
But after rallying repeatedly in their fourth consecutive loss in Pittsburgh, the Irish couldn’t hold a 97-94 lead created by Luke Zeller’s dunk with 2:20 left in the second overtime. Young scored inside to cut it to 97-96 and, after Quinn lost his dribble and Pitt stole the ball, Ramon – who had 12 points – hit his 3-pointer only a few feet in front of Pitt’s bench to win it. Gray added a free throw with 6 seconds remaining.
Quinn’s second excellent game in Pittsburgh in as many seasons – he had 25 in a 68-66 loss last season – was one of the best individual efforts by a visiting player since Pitt moved into the Big East 24 years ago, but couldn’t prevent the Irish’s sixth loss in its last seven to Pitt.
Gray, a 7-foot junior taking advantage of Notre Dame’s undersized frontline, had scored more than 17 points only once previously, getting 22 against St. Francis, N.Y. earlier this season. Krauser followed up a 22-point game in a 73-64 win over then-No. 24 Wisconsin, the only Top 25 team Pitt has faced.