Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame's Regular Season Ends With 56-53 Loss To Pitt

March 9, 2019
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Saturday on the road marked seven straight losses for the Irish to end the season Although, with Georgia Tech in their sites on Tuesday when the ACC tournament begins the contributions from the team's youth was promising against Pittsburgh. 

Despite 11 points in the last four minutes of regulation by freshman forward Nate Laszewski, Notre Dame was unable to overcome Pittsburgh second-half lead they padded with a run early in the second half. The Irish were defeated 56-53 inside the Petersen Events Center to give the Panthers their first win in 54 days.

“Give Pittsburgh credit,” Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey stated. “They made big plays to win the game. We were kind of in the routine we’ve been in all year. We just couldn’t make a shot or make a big play. It’s who we’ve been and I guess who Pittsburgh has been until today. 

“This league kind of breaks your spirit a little bit and you almost need some help. I loved that we fought back and we had our chances. This group has tried, but we’re a little young and a little thin to get over the hump.” 

Notre Dame finished the regular season 13-18 and 3-15 in the ACC. Pittsburgh finished the same, 13-18 with three ACC wins.

With 18 seconds left in regulation down 56-53, John Mooney faced up Pittsburgh freshman Trey McGowens around the three-point line and got the ball stripped. McGowens gained control of the ball with 15 seconds left and was fouled by Mooney. This ended the comeback by the Irish.

For the first four minutes, it was back-and-forth until McGowens tied the game at 33 with a three the hard way. This sparked a 15-2 run by the Panthers that were concluded by a three by Sidy N’Dir to extend their lead to 10, 45-35 with 10:54 left in the second half. It was Pittsburgh’s largest lead of the game.

However, in the last four minutes, Notre Dame made it interesting. Laszewski scored the last 11 points for the Irish to force a nail-biter. The 6-foot-10 freshman hit three consecutive threes on three straight possessions. His last three cut the Panthers lead to one, 52-51 with 2:01 left in the game.

Notre Dame shot 33 percent from the field (17-52), but half of the field goals came from three. The Irish hit nine of 26 attempts from deep.

Laszewski finished with a career-high 23 points. He hit 6-9 from deep and added seven rebounds. Dane Goodwin added 10 points and six boards.

“I’m really proud of that,” Brey said of Laszewski. “I’m walking out of here feeling better. We lost and we’ve had a tough stretch. After Nate missed that free throw the other night and was devastated, to come back and play like that kind of tells you a little bit about this kid.” 

Mooney had an uncharacteristic game with four points on 1-11 shooting. He did a team-high 11 rebounds though.

“John Mooney was finally human,” said Brey. “He’s really not been human. He’s been superman in this league. I thought today was the first day he looked a little fatigued and rightfully so because he’s almost carried us. That hurt us. 

“For us to have success against anyone, he has to score a little more for us. Pittsburgh did a good job on him. They double-teamed him and we had trouble against their zone. He couldn’t get touched because we had to play a little differently.” 

Pittsburgh finished shooting 38 percent from the field (22-58). McGowens paced Pittsburgh with 16 points. Jared Wilson-Frame also added 12 points on senior night.

Before Laszewski converted a layup on a pass into the paint by TJ Gibbs with 39 seconds left in the first half, Notre Dame didn’t score for six minutes and 23 seconds. This gave Pittsburgh a chance to scratch its way back into the game after being down 12, 24-12 after Goodwin hit a free throw line jumper with seven minutes left in the first half.

Over the last seven minutes of the first half sparked by nine points by McGowens, the Panthers ended the first half on a 13-2 run to pull within one going into halftime, 26-25.

Notre Dame jumped out to a big lead early sparked by freshman forward Laszewski. Laszewski hit back-to-back threes from the corner on two straight possessions to force a Pittsburgh timeout with 9:01 left in the first half.

Out of the timeout, the Panthers converted on a layup by Au’Diese Toney, but Goodwin scored four straight points to give the Irish their biggest lead of the game with seven minutes left in the first half. This was a quick 10-2 run by Notre Dame that gave them a 24-12 lead.

Notre Dame and Pittsburgh both shot 33 percent from the field in the first half. The Irish converted on nine of their 27 shots, five coming from behind the arch. Laszewski led the way for Notre Dame with 11 first-half points. Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb each added five.

The Panthers converted on 10 of their 30 shots, four from long range. McGowens led the way for Pittsburgh with nine points, all coming in the seven-minute run to end the first half.

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score
Irish Sports Daily
Final Notre Dame Stats 

 

 
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