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Pitt Basketball

Pitt Melts Down in Stunning Loss to Notre Dame, 88-81

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Pitt's basketball team huddles before playing against North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 in Chapel Hill. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — For the second straight year, shooting and mental mistakes undid Pitt on a trip to Notre Dame. This time, the loss might be far more damaging to the Panthers.

Marcus Hammond sank four of six from beyond the arc on his way to a game-high 20 points and Notre Dame built a 14-point halftime lead that Pitt didn’t cut into until it was too late. Instead of locking up a first-round bye in the ACC tournament, the Panthers played gracious guests in Mike Brey’s final home game at Notre Dame, going down to an 88-81 defeat on Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion.

Faced with a fired-up opponent in Notre Dame, the Panthers (21-9, 14-5 ACC) showed little of the resolve that had given them the ACC’s best road record. Instead, once the Fighting Irish (11-19, 3-16 ACC) got started, the Panthers struggled to match their energy.

Notre Dame sank four of its first five 3-point shots, making clear its intentions to send Brey out a winner. Just like last year, once the Irish got going, they fed off each other. Outside of Cormac Ryan, who scored 18 points despite going 2-for-9 from deep, Notre Dame shot 8-for-18 from the arc.

And just like last year, the Panthers couldn’t get going from anywhere. Pitt shot 7-for-22 from the arc, but that was just the start of its problems. The Panthers killed themselves at the stripe, shooting just 20-for-36. Meanwhile, the Irish coolly converted 26-of-31 from the stripe, choking off any comeback efforts.

To make matters worse, the Panthers completely self-destructed from a mental aspect. From technical fouls against coach Jeff Capel and Jamarius Burton to Nike Sibande turning the ball over by standing up to commit a walk, Pitt showed none of the basketball IQ that got it in position to claim a double bye. Sibande led the Panthers with 19 points, but the Panthers’ mistakes proved too great to overcome.

It added up to a damaging Quad 3 loss that will surely knock Pitt out of the top 25. The Panthers can still claim the top seed in the ACC tournament by beating Miami on Saturday. But their NCAA tournament is no longer secure after a second straight road loss.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Burton Tee
Burton Tee
18 days ago

So are we going to put that whole “we don’t get enough respect” thing to rest?

Let’s see what happens in the ACC tournament.

H2P

TJ
TJ
18 days ago
Reply to  Burton Tee

Another opp this weekend. It really was set-up for a letdown. Big night for ND, similar to our night against Syracuse, but possibly bigger. In any case, college hoops are crazy and we aren’t the only one to lay an egg over the last 2 nights. Last week’s meteoric climb from Kentucky looks premature, down went Maryland, Texas, Indiana and San Diego State. Their opponents may not have been as inferior as ND but, the losers in these games were recognized as being much, much better than Pitt. Maybe the “experts” aren’t that wise. H2P !

Bob Landel
Bob Landel
18 days ago

Do we officially tell fans when the team shaves points? How much money does each starter/player get? Tonight was obvious. Not fun, this new modern NCAA system

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