PITTSBURGH — Despite another double-double from Justin Champagnie, Pitt could not receive much help from the supporting cast, falling to Notre Dame at Petersen Events Center on Saturday night by a score of 84-58.
After leading by twelve at the half, Notre Dame opened the second frame on a 14-5 run, extending its lead to 21 points with just under 15 minutes remaining in the game. The Irish never looked back, shooting a steady 55.6% from the field and 58.3% from three in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 43-29.
The beginning of this game was very back and forth, featuring hot starts from both Pitt and Notre Dame. Then, the Irish got hot, going on a 13-2 run while making 6 of 7 shots in that span and building their lead to as much as 13 in the half. Notre Dame shot a solid 56.7% from the field in the first frame, led by strong efforts from big man Juwan Durham on the inside and a hot shooting start by Prentiss Hubb.
Champagnie, coming off of a game in which he only shot the ball nine times, threw up 20 attempts tonight from the field. He finished with another impressive stat line, 19 points and 11 rebounds, and stated his case for a third-straight ACC Player of the Week award.
After finishing with just eight points in Pitt’s last game against North Carolina, Au’Diese Toney once again struggled to find the back of the net and finished with just eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Veteran guard Xavier Johnson also struggled mightily tonight, scoring just five points on 2-for-6 shooting. Johnson, who has struggled with foul trouble throughout the season, fouled out tonight, picking up his fourth after missing a layup and then shortly after picking up a technical foul for shoving Notre Dame’s Nikola Djogo. Coming into the game, Johnson and Notre Dame’s Hubb were the top-two assist leaders in the conference, and tonight Hubb won the assist battle, finishing with nine helpers to Johnson’s three.
Wing Ithiel Horton was the Panthers’ second leading scorer on the night, contributing nine points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field. After not playing in Pitt’s last three games, freshmen Noah Collier and William Jeffress returned to the court tonight, combining for 31 minutes and just one point.
The Irish were led by Durham, Hubb, and Dane Goodwin. Hubb, a former four-star recruit, shot the lights out tonight, finishing with 17 points, going 5 of 7 from downtown. The 6-foot-6 Goodwin, who came in averaging 12.4 points per game, contributed 16 points for the Irish on 6-for-11 shooting.
Pitt (8-5, 4-4 ACC) will look to snap its three-game losing streak in its next game when it takes on Virginia Tech on Feb. 3 at Petersen Events Center. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on AT&T’s Regional Sports Networks