No. 15 Notre Dame Vs. No. 2 Pitt: Irish Give Panthers First Big East Loss, 56-51

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Notre Dame Basketball Ends Pitt Panthers' Impressive Streak Of Home Dominance

Pitt's home basketball court -- the Oakland Zoo -- has developed a reputation for being one of the most intense home atmospheres in college basketball. Just ask formerly-undefeated Syracuse or any of the other 50 squads to have fallen there in the last six years.

The last time Pittsburgh had lost at the Petersen Events Center was almost exactly a year ago on Jan. 20, 2009 against Georgetown. Monday night's 56-51 loss at home to Notre Dame was only the second home loss for the Panthers in 53 games.

The loss comes at a bad time for the Panthers, who just moved up to No. 2 in the rankings for the first time March of 2009.

As for Notre Dame, the win is impressive on more than just one level:

This is the third consecutive win for the Irish over Pittsburgh, going back to last season. In fact, Pittsburgh is 28-5 in their last 33 games, dating back to February 6th of last season. Three of those losses are to Notre Dame. This was also the highest ranked team ND Head Coach Mike Brey has defeated on the road, and the first win against a top 2 ranked team since Dec. 2, 2002, when they defeated Texas 98-92 in the BB&T Classic, held in Washington, D.C. That capped off a great week for the Irish, who defeated 3 straight top 10 teams, capped off by that Texas victory.

For more post-game analysis, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill or Notre Dame blog Rakes of Mallow.


Notre Dame Vs. Pitt Final Score: Ben Hansbrough Helps Hand Panthers First Big East Loss

The Pittsburgh Panthers were just getting settled in at No. 2 in the top 25, enjoying an undefeated record at home and in the Big East. But the Notre Dame Fighting Irish may have just ensured Pitt’s stay at the top will be short like the Irish’s mascot © Biggie. With a 56-51 win, Notre Dame has taken down its fourth ranked team of the season, and that recent slump of theirs is officially over.

Irish guard Ben Hansbrough scored four times from the field down the stretch, both driving and from distance, finishing with a game-high 19 points. With seconds remaining he missed the first half of a one-and-one from the free throw line, catching a rebound that few realized was actually a live ball. After some flailing and gesturing from Notre Dame’s bench the guard took off, leading to a double dribble but managing to burn a couple extra seconds.

The Irish get DePaul next, while Pitt has to head to play Rutgers.

For more on this game: Irish fans, visit Rakes Of Mallow and SB Nation Chicago. Pitt fans, take it to Cardiac Hill and SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Notre Dame Vs. Pitt Score: Panthers Up 28-23 At Halftime

The No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers are undefeated at home for a reason. Pitt basketball fans are active and involved all game long, and no non-rival brings that out quite like the No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In a low-scoring, fast-paced first half, the Panthers outscored the Irish 28-23.

Neither team has shot particularly well, with both hovering around 40 percent. Pitt is doing a better job on the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds to Notre Dame’s 11. Irish guard Scott Martin is your leading scorer with nine, all of those points coming on three-point attempts. Both teams have hit five of 10 threes.

He’s followed by Pitt’s Gilbert Grown and Ashton Gibbs, who have seven each. Brown is also responsible for five of those boards.

For more on this game: Irish fans, visit Rakes Of Mallow and SB Nation Chicago. Pitt fans, take it to Cardiac Hill and SB Nation Pittsburgh.


No. 15 Notre Dame Vs. No. 2 Pitt: Can Panthers Keep Big East Run Alive At Home?

GAME NOTES: Notre Dame has been impossible to beat at home this season, as it has racked up victories in all 13 games in South Bend. Unfortunately, the Fighting Irish have struggled in enemy territory, as all three true road games have resulted in defeat. On Saturday, Notre Dame treated the home crowd to an 80-75 victory over Marquette, pushing its record to 16-4 overall and 5-3 in Big East action.

Like Notre Dame, Pittsburgh is 13-0 at home, and that mark is actually relevant tonight considering that this showdown is being played at the Petersen Events Center. Overall, the Panthers are 19-1, and they are the only Big East team without a league loss (7-0). They have won their last nine games overall and are coming off an 80-50 romp over DePaul on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish took a 28-27 advantage in the all-time series with the Panthers thanks to wins in both meetings last season.

There is no shortage of offensive talent in place for Notre Dame, which possesses four double-digit scorers. Ben Hansbrough leads the club with his 16.4 ppg on the strength of 42.5 percent shooting from three-point range, and he is handing out 3.9 apg. Tim Abromaitis checks in with 14.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg, while Carleton Scott adds 11.4 ppg. Tyrone Nash is netting 10.0 ppg for the Irish, who are generating 75.4 ppg while allowing 65.1 ppg to opponents. In the five-point win over Marquette on Saturday, Hansbrough was unstoppable, as he poured in 28 points and handed out six assists while shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. Nash netted 13 points, and the team won despite a six-point effort by Abromaitis. Notre Dame connected on 53.5 percent of its field goal attempts and earned a 28-15 edge in points from the foul line.

Pittsburgh clearly gets the job done at both ends of the floor, as the team is racking up 79.9 ppg while limiting opponents to 62.2 ppg on 40.1 percent field goal efficiency. Ashton Gibbs leads the Panthers with 15.9 ppg on 45.4 percent shooting from three-point range, and Brad Wanamaker checks in with 12.7 ppg and 111 assists. As for Gilbert Brown, he provides 11.6 ppg, and the fact that all three players mentioned are gifted passers has been a key ingredient to success. Pitt put forth a smothering defensive effort on Saturday against DePaul, holding the Blue Demons to 34.5 percent field goal efficiency, which included a 4-of-14 showing from three-point range. A 48-33 rebounding advantage certainly helped the cause, as did a 7-of-13 effort from three-point range. Brown scored 17 points, Gibbs tallied 13 points and Wanamaker handed out nine assists. As for Gary McGhee, he ripped down 15 rebounds.

Expect yet another home win for Pittsburgh and another road loss for Notre Dame. There is no reason to ignore the trends in this one.

GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers continue their quest for the Big East Conference title as they welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to town this evening.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Petersen Events Center (12,500) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Notre Dame 13-0, Pitt 13-0. Away Record: Notre Dame 0-3, Pitt 3-0. Neutral Record: Notre Dame 3-1, Pitt 3-1. Conference Record: Notre Dame 5-3, Pitt 7-0. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 28-27.

Pittsburgh 74, Notre Dame 66

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