No. 18 Pitt Edges Notre Dame 68-66
PITTSBURGH - Carl Krauser's runner from the lane with 11 seconds remaining put No. 18 Pittsburgh ahead to stay following two Notre Dame comebacks and the Panthers turned to their bench for a 68-66 victory Saturday
Pittsburgh (17-4, 7-3 Big East) trailed by as many as five points before going on a 14-1 run without starters Krauser and Chris Taft to take a 58-50 lead on Chevon Troutman's two free throws.
Chris Quinn tried to rally the Fighting Irish (14-7, 6-5) in a game important to their NCAA tournament hopes by scoring on three consecutive possessions to briefly put them up 62-61, then hitting his fifth 3-pointer to tie it at 65.
Krauser's basket restored Pitt's lead at 67-65 and freshman backup Ronald Ramon made a free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining after Rick Cornett had prevented Notre Dame from tying it again by missing one of two free throws. Krauser led the Panthers with 16 points, but their bench contributed 24 points after scoring only six in the previous two games combined.
Notre Dame's final chance to win or tie ended when Cornett's too-long inbounds pass was intercepted by Levon Kendall, who held onto the ball as time expired.
Quinn was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 25 points, while Chris Thomas added 16. Pitt held Colin Falls to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting. Falls, whose 23 points keyed the Irish's 68-65 upset of previously unbeaten Boston College on Tuesday night, was 1-of-10 on 3-pointers.
Krauser, Pitt's point guard, was elbowed in the face just as the 14-1 run started and didn't return for 5 minutes, but played a key role down the stretch. The 6-foot-10 Taft, a preseason all-Big East first-teamer, sat out all but 4 minutes of the second half because backup Aaron Gray was more productive.
Gray contributed nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in 15 minutes to Taft's one point, six rebounds and 0-for-3 shooting in 17 minutes. Ramon and Troutman each scored 13, and Antonio Graves had 10 for Pitt, which won its seventh in nine games.
Notre Dame was trying for its fourth victory over a ranked Big East opponent this season but fell behind 28-15 before making 10 3-pointers in less than 13 minutes to take a 49-44 lead.
Ramon's fallaway 3-pointer from the corner and free throw restored Pitt's lead at 51-50, and Mark McCarroll followed with a putback of Ramon's miss and Graves added a 3-pointer ahead of the two free throws by Troutman.
Notre Dame was 14-of-29 from 3-point range to Pitt's 8-of-21, but the Panthers were 14-of-22 at the foul line to the Irish's 6-of-10.