Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Irish Escape Pittsburgh with 78-77 Overtime Win

December 31, 2016

It was a wild second half, as No. 24 Notre Dame (12-2, 1-0) and Pittsburgh (11-3, 0-1) opened up ACC play with an overtime thriller at the Petersen Event Center. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey wanted his seniors to step up in crunch time and Steve Vasturia answered the call on Saturday in a 78-77 win in overtime.

The Irish found themselves down 75-70 with just over two minutes left in overtime when Bonzie Colson hit a floater and then Vasturia knocked home a three-ball to tie the game at 75 with 1:13 left to play.

Trailing 77-75, Matt Farrell, while falling down, found Astoria and the senior guard hit a three with two seconds left in overtime for the game winner.

Vasturia finished the game with 15 points, two rebounds and five assists, while Farrell added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Notre Dame freshman point guard TJ Gibbs jump started Notre Dame in the second half with a beautiful reverse layup to pull within 46-44. The New Jersey native then hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 49 with just over 11 minutes to play.

Gibbs chipped in seven points off the bench on the day.

The Irish lead was 62-57 with 6:06 to play, but then Pitt reeled off a 10-0 run to take a 67-62 lead with 2:42 to play with a James Artis three-pointer. Colson and VJ Beachem answered with buckets to pull the Irish within 67-66 with a minute left to play.

Colson led Notre Dame with 21 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.

Vasturia hit two free throws to tie the game at 68 with 25 seconds to play. Pitt guard Chris Jones would get off a three-pointer from the corner, but Beachem blocked it back into the crowd. Michael Young’s off balance shot didn’t fall and the teams would head into overtime.

Young and Artis both did all they could for the Panthers as both players ended the ACC opener with 25 points a piece.  Beachem had another rough game, as the senior shot just 3 of 10 and finished with six points.

It was a rough start for Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, as Young and Artis hit a combined three shots from behind the arc in the first three minutes of the game to take a 9-3 lead.

Young was in full attack mode, as he hit his third three-pointer at the 11:13 mark in the first half to push the Panthers lead to 22-11, the largest of the game.

Johnson completed a three-point play and then Jeter hit a jumper to give Pitt a 29-19 lead, but that’s when the Irish finally kicked it into gear.

Notre Dame would go on a quick 10-0 run lead by five points from Farrell, which included his third three-pointer of the half.

Vasturia gave the visiting team a 32-31 lead on a three and Colson followed it with a second-chance bucket to give Notre Dame a 34-31 advantage with 2:51 left the first 20 minutes.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Steve Vasturia. Hitting a game winning shot with two seconds to play is good enough for me. The senior showed up when his team needed him the most, as he scored the final six points in overtime for the Irish.

STAT LINE OF THE GAME: Notre Dame held a 40-18 advantage in points in the paint. The Irish didn’t shoot the ball well from behind the arc (9/27), but took care of business inside the three-point line. Martinas Geben was a large part of that, as he had 10 points to go along with Colson’s 21.

WHAT’S NEXT: Notre Dame will host No. 6 Louisville (12-2) on Wednesday at Purcell Pavilion. The Cardinals knocked off Indiana 77-62 on Saturday.

Notre Dame led by as many as eight in the second half, but the Panthers wouldn’t go away. Michael Young and James Artis came into the game averaging over 20 points a game and they led the way for the home team on Saturday.
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