The Pitt Men’s Basketball Team was unable to hold on to an eight-point second half lead falling 68-67 to Notre Dame Tuesday evening at the Petersen Events Center, as Prentiss Hubb nailed the game-winning shot with 5.6 second remaining.
Pitt (5-8/0-2 ACC) was led by John Hugley’s game high 18 points and he also grabbed six rebounds. Hugley’s eight made free throws represented a career high.
Jamarius Burton added 15 points and Mo Gueye scored 14 points, while recording two blocks, his eighth consecutive game with at least one block. Femi Odukale also contributed 13 points towards Pitt’s cause.
As a team, Pitt committed six turnovers, four of which came on offensive fouls.
Notre Dame (7-5/1-1 ACC) saw Paul Atkinson Jr lead the way with his 16 points and eight rebounds before he fouled out of the contest.
Hubb contributed 15 points. Also joining him in double figures were Blake Wesley (12) and Dane Goodwin (11).
In the early going, Pitt was able to play more towards its style against a Notre Dame team which entered play ranked 30th in the country in offensive efficiency.
Though Pitt was unable to come down with a rebound in the opening few minutes, it forced the Fighting Irish into two shot-clock violations before the media timeout.
Offensively, Pitt saw Odukale have an opportunity for three and-one plays in the first half as the Panthers used a 7-0 scoring run to hold a four-point advantage in the early going.
As the half was fairly balanced, Wesley returned to the contest after picking up two early fouls and his connection with Trey Wertz led to eight quick points as ND stretched its advantage to five points.
Pitt was able to find some balance with its offense and prior to the buzzer sounding, Odukale converted that third and-one play to tie the contest at 30 points.
Notre Dame was able to assist on nine of its 11 first-half field goals. Pitt was able to have a polished first half with seven assists, compared to one turnover, which came on a John Hugley charge.
The Fighting Irish opened the second half with a Goodwin three-point basket, but then Pitt was able to go on a 7-0 run.
Hugley fed William Jeffress, screaming “knockdown” before the shot came off his hands and the prediction proved to be prophetic.
Gueye then took advantage of a second chance to score and a second Notre Dame turnover in the early stages of the half led to a Burton basket as ND coach Mike Brey called a timeout.
Notre Dame traveled on its first possession coming out of the timeout and Hugley made a basket, extending Pitt’s advantage.
Though Pitt battled foul trouble and plated without both Gueye and Hugley for a stretch, Noah Collier played some minutes and recorded an and-one sequence which helped settle the Panthers down.
Gueye then got back into the game and promptly drilled his third three-point basket of the evening.
Fouls continued to play a role as what was an eight-point Pitt advantage was erased by a 10-2 Notre Dame run as Hubb caught fire from three-point range.
With Pitt’s fans attempting to shout a “let’s go Pitt” chant to get the team back in the game, another Gueye three-point attempt fell short.
Odukale converted two free throws, but Hubb made another three-point basket, giving Notre Dame its first advantage since 34 seconds remained in the first half.
Coming out of the media timeout, Goodwin sank an open three-point shot, though Hugley’s and-one play countered that make.
Atkinson then made a two, which Burton replied to with an open three-point make, tying the contest. When Cormac Ryan sank a three-pointer of his own, Hugley’s response was two free throws.
Still down by one, Pitt called a timeout where Odukale got the nod and delivered with another and-one play, though his free throw caught too much iron and went left of target.
Notre Dame drew up its offense and Hubb was able to fadeaway and converted a jumper that placed the Fighting Irish back in front.
Pitt will resume in ACC slate for the first of two consecutive road games, when it faces Virginia Tech Saturday at 4 p.m. in a contest carried by ESPNU.