Irish stun No. 12 Panthers as 'Gody sits
Notre Dame slowed it down against No. 12 Pittsburgh and turned the
game into a runaway.
Playing a more deliberate style because Luke Harangody was out a third straight game with a bone bruise on his right knee, the Fighting Irish were 10 of 18 from 3-point range to end the Panthers' five-game winning streak with a 68-53 victory Wednesday night.
The Panthers (21-7, 10-5 Big East), who hadn't given up more than nine 3-pointers in a game this season, were just 4 of 18 from behind the arc.
"It seemed like we had wide open 3s and they had guarded 3s. Theirs went down and ours didn't," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "Our defense wasn't good enough. That was clear."
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said patience was the key for the Irish (18-10, 7-8).
"We got great shots at the end of long possessions," Brey said.
Tim Abromaitis scored 17 points, Ben Hansbrough had 15 points and nine rebounds and Tory Jackson had 14 points and seven assists for the Irish. Abromaitis and Jackson were both 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
"I think just being patient on offense was a key for us," Abromaitis said. "There were a lot of possessions that went down to single digits on the shot clock and we waited until we had the best look we could possibly get."
The Panthers, who had won six of their previous seven against the Irish, were led by Jermaine Dixon with 13 points and Ashton Gibbs had 11.
The Irish took command with a 19-3 run that started with a fallaway jumper at the halftime buzzer by Jackson that gave Notre Dame a 35-27 lead. Carleton Scott then made back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half, followed by another 3-pointer by Jackson. Hansbrough followed with a three-point play, scoring on a reverse layup and a free throw after he was fouled by Dixon. Another 3-pointer by Abromaitis gave the Irish a 52-30 lead.
Notre Dame extended the lead to 58-34 when Abromaitis made a pair of free throws with 9:05 left. The Panthers didn't get closer than 19 until the final minute.
"We got beat in pretty much every aspect," Jamie Dixon said. "This is one game, one loss, but right now it feels like a number of losses."
The Panthers, who matched a season high with 21 offensive rebounds in their upset of Villanova on Sunday, were outrebounded 34-25 by the Irish even though they were without Harangody, their leading rebounder at 10 a game.
"I don't know if anybody has ever lost like this, with four turnovers in a game. It's tough to lose by 15 and have only four turnovers," Dixon said.
Before the game, Notre Dame honored Harangody, the nation's No. 2 scorer at 24.1 points a game, by making him the first player inducted into the school's "Ring of Honor," hanging his No. 44 from the rafters. The school plans to add past players into the ring in future years.
Harangody said he was surprised when he was told about the tribute.
"I'm just honored to be up there as the first one," he said.
The injury could keep him from becoming the Big East's all-time leading scorer. He is now third and needs 82 points to pass Syracuse's Lawrence Moten for No. 1 with three games left. He said he's not concerned about that.
"As of right now, I'm just trying to get healthy and get back," he said.
He said it was too early to say if he could play Saturday at No. 11 Georgetown, but Brey didn't sound too hopeful.
Dixon said the Panthers need to put the loss behind them.
"It was one loss," he said. "That's how we look at it."