Jan. 31, 2009
PITTSBURGH (AP) – DeJuan Blair had 23 points and a career-high 22 rebounds and No. 3 Pittsburgh rallied from a rare halftime deficit to beat Notre Dame 93-80 on Saturday, the Fighting Irish’s fifth straight loss.
Levance Fields scored 17 points, Jermaine Dixon had 16 and reserves Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker both added 13 for the Panthers (19-2, 7-2 Big East), who bounced back from a loss at Villanova on Wednesday to win its 15th consecutive home game.
Luke Harangody had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Notre Dame (12-8, 3-6), while Luke Zeller added 18 points, all on 3-pointers.
Notre Dame finished with 12 3-pointers, 11 in the first half.
The losing streak for the Irish, who were ranked as high as No. 7 this season, has been all against Top 25 opponents.
Pittsburgh trailed 45-39 at halftime, just the second time this season the Panthers were behind at intermission. Pitt trailed Rutgers 43-39 on Dec. 31 before pulling out a 78-72 win.
This time, the Panthers wiped out Notre Dame’s lead with an 18-4 run to start the second half.
A 3-pointer from Fields, a three-point play by Sam Young and another basket from Young put Pittsburgh ahead for good, 47-45, with 18:02 left.
The run was the lone bright spot for Young, Pitt’s leading scorer, who was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Two baskets from Blair put Pittsburgh ahead 51-47, and 3-pointers from Dixon and Fields gave the Panthers a 57-49 lead with 15:33 left.
Another 3-pointer from Dixon made it 66-55, and Notre Dame got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Notre Dame, which was making its first visit to the Petersen Events Center in over three years, took a 20-10 lead with 13:35 left in the first half. The Irish connected on six 3-pointers during their early run, including four from Zeller.
After Pittsburgh cut Notre Dame’s lead to 23-21, the Irish went back ahead 32-24 with 6:00 left behind two 3-pointers from Ryan Ayers and another long-range shot from Zeller.
The Panthers rallied to tie the game at 34 before Notre Dame went ahead behind 3-pointers from Kyle McAlarney and Zeller.