Notre Dame rallies past Pitt

Updated: February 18, 2013

Jerian Grant scored 11 of his 13 points in
the second half, as No. 25 Notre Dame shook off an incredibly slow start and
dumped No. 20 Pittsburgh, 51-42, at Petersen Events Center.

The Fighting Irish were coming off an embarrassing 17-point loss at Providence
on Saturday and were facing a similar fate after missing their first 12 field
goal attempts against a formidable road opponent.

But Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East) rallied from an early 16-point deficit and
shot 60 percent in the second half to earn its fifth straight win over Pitt.

Grant, after starting 0-for-8 from the field, drained three from behind the
arc, including two during an 8-0 run that helped the Irish pull away.

Jack Cooley chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds while Eric Atkins added 10
points and seven assists for Notre Dame, which sits alone in fourth place in
the Big East standings and trails the conference leaders by one game.

The Panthers (20-7, 8-6) dropped their second in a row on the heels of a
promising 7-1 stretch. Tray Woodall was their only player in double figures
with 11 points.

“Obviously we were disappointed in our performance, in our play, our
execution, pretty much every facet, so there’s not much else to say,” Panthers
head coach Jamie Dixon said.

Pitt wound up with a worse shooting percentage (.348) than Notre Dame (.383)
despite the Irish’s early struggles, which featured an 0-for-12 shooting
effort and six turnovers as the Panthers jumped out to an 11-1 lead.

After Tom Knight ended the drought with a layup, Notre Dame missed its next
six shots, and the frustration reached its boiling point when head coach Mike
Brey was hit with a technical foul with 7:08 left in the half.

Woodall made the technical free throws for a healthy 19-3 lead, but
consecutive 3-pointers from Pat Connaughton sparked a 10-0 run that brought
the visitors within six.

“I was just so frustrated and thought on some of our drives we were getting
bumped a little bit,” Brey said of his technical foul. “Sometimes that does
change the vibe.”

The Irish trailed, 22-19, at halftime and went in front, 29-28, on Grant’s 3-
pointer a little more than five minutes into the second half for their first
lead since it was 1-0.

It stayed a one-possession affair until Grant buried two from long range
during an 8-0 spurt that extended Notre Dame’s lead to 43-34 with 4:45 to go.

The closest the Panthers got from there was seven, as they were unable to
connect from 3-point range and finished 0-for-8 from the perimeter.

Game Notes

Notre Dame held a 40-25 rebounding advantage, including a 13-6 edge on the
offensive glass … Notre Dame won despite committing 15 turnovers … Pitt
starting forwards Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson, who both came in averaging
over 10 points per game, were held to four and two points, respectively.