Even with a frenzied comeback effort by the Fighting Irish, the Pitt men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire on Saturday in South Bend.
The No. 24 Panthers defeated Notre Dame at the Edmund P. Joyce Center 86-82,bolstered by a 25 point game by junior forward Michael Young.
The Panthers came out ablaze, as they opened their first road game of the season with a 10-0 run.
Michael Young was instrumental in the run, tallying 11 points, two rebounds and two assists on a perfect 5-5 shooting before the first media timeout.
Demetrius Jackson heated up later on in the half, connecting on four consecutive 3-pointers to keep the Fighting Irish’s deficit manageable.
Able to weather the early onslaught, Notre Dame chipped away at the Panthers’ advantage even further, with Pitt only making one of its final six shot attempts, and the score sat at 49-43 at halftime.
Pitt found its offensive stroke again to start the second half, as Sheldon Jeter opened up scoring with an and-one dunk, followed by back-to-back threes by Jamel Artis and Sterling Smith to give Pitt a 58-45 lead with 17 minutes left in the game.
Jeter’s contributions facilitated Pitt’s breaking the game open, as he received ample playing time in the second period due to Young tacking on three first half fouls. He scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half.
While Pitt’s lead grew as large as 18, a 14-2 run by Notre Dame cut the advantage to just five with less than eight minutes left.
But the Panthers fought off the Irish’s comeback attempt, with another three-point play on a Jeter dunk extending the lead back to double-digits at 79-68.
Notre Dame had one more run left, though, as it went on a 9-0 run to bring the Irish within two of Pitt.
Notre Dame’s Matt Ryan had an opportunity to tie the game with 18 seconds remaining on an open 3-point attempt, but missed.
Young converted one of two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to give Pitt a two-possession advantage, and following a Jackson layup, Robinson nailed two from the charity stripe to ensure the win.
Young led the team with 25 points, five rebounds and four assists. Artis tallied 19 points, five rebounds and three assists in the effort as well.
Jackson posted 26 points, six assists and one block and one steal in the loss for Notre Dame.
Pitt is 14-1 on the year and 3-0 in ACC play. The Panthers next play on Thursday, when they travel to Kentucky to take on the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.