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Irish Insights

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Patterson leads Pitt to 85-81 OT win over Irish

SOUTH BEND – Lamar Patterson scored 20 points, including a pair of free throws with 2 seconds left, and Talib Zanna had 17 points and 14 rebounds as Pittsburgh overcame making one basket in the final six minutes of regulation to beat Notre Dame 85-81 in overtime Saturday.

The Panthers took the lead for good with 1:56 left when James Robinson made a pair of free throws and Zanna added a dunk 33 seconds later to give Pitt a four-point lead. Steve Vasturia scored 12 of Notre Dame’s 16 points in overtime, but the Irish couldn’t even the score again.

The Panthers (22-7, 10-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended a five-game losing streak to the Irish (15-15, 6-11), beating them for the first time since 2009 and improved to 6-2 on the road. Notre Dame finished 13-6 at home, their most home losses since going 11-7 in 2004.

The Panthers outrebounded the Irish 38-22, outscoring the Irish 21-5 in second-chance points, to overcome the Irish shooting 55 percent while Pitt was held to 43 percent shooting.

The Irish took their first lead since early in the second half when Vasturia, who finished with 15 points, hit a pair of free throws 20 seconds into overtime. He then gave Notre Dame another lead 2 minutes later when he hit a 3-pointer. Vasturia hit a pair free throws with 5 seconds left to cut the lead to 81-80. But Michael Young and Patterson hit two free throws each in the closing seconds as the Panthers held on.

Cameron Wright added 15 points for the Panthers, who outshot the Irish 46 percent to 37 percent in the second half. Pat Connaughton finished with 19 points, scoring 17 in the first half before leaving the game for several minutes in the second half with an injury. Eric Atkins added 17 points.

The Panthers used a 6-0 spurt to go ahead 63-56 on a layup by Wright with 6:24 left. But Pitt went scoreless for the next five minutes, missing four shots and turning the ball over three times as the Irish went on a 6-0 spurt. Garrick Sherman cut the lead to 63-62 on a basket inside with 3:04 left.

The Panthers finally ended their scoring drought on a rebound basket by Young with 1:17 left to give the Panthers a 65-62 lead. After Atkins missed a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left, Vasturia got the rebound and V.J. Beachem, a former New Haven standout, hit a 3 with 9 seconds left to tie it at 65. The Panthers had a chance to win, but a long jumper by Wright at the buzzer bounced off the rim.

Notre Dame shot 74 percent in the first half, making 7-of-9 3-pointers, but led only 39-35 at intermission. That was because the Panthers had a 17-8 advantage in rebounding, outscoring the Irish 13-0 in second-chance points.

Notre Dame, which had turned the ball over 24 times in its previous four games, had 16 turnovers against the Panthers as they lost for the first time in four overtime games this season.

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