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Hansbrough leads Notre Dame over No. 2 Pittsburgh

Jan 25, 2011 - 3:49 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Ben Hansbrough scored eight of his 19 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes, taking over a game played at a snails pace, as 15th-ranked Notre Dame recorded a signature victory over No. 2 Pittsburgh, 56-51, at the Petersen Events Center.

Hansbrough also dished out seven assists, while Carleton Scott was the benefactor of several Hansbrough passes, stroking 5-of-6 three-pointers as part of a 16-point, nine-rebound effort. Scott Martin chipped in with 10 points for Notre Dame (17-4, 6-3 Big East), which has won two straight and recorded its first victory over a top-two ranked team since a December 8, 2002 win over Texas.

"I thought Ben Hansbrough played fabulous, finding people, dragging the ball screen, understanding the mismatch and finding our shooters," said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey.

Gilbert Brown totaled 13 points with six rebounds and Brad Wanamaker added 12 points for the Panthers (19-2, 7-1), who saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end. Pittsburgh was held to its lowest scoring output and fewest field goal attempts (45) in a game this season.

"I'm disappointed with how we executed both offensively and defensively. I have to give Notre Dame credit with how they came out and played. We have a lot to learn from this loss," said Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon.

The Fighting Irish played the game at their preferred pace, eating up precious time and running the shot clock into the final 10 ticks before starting an offensive set. It worked wonders, as Notre Dame made nine three-pointers, committed just 10 turnovers and got into a flow during the second half.

Pittsburgh took a 28-23 lead into the second half, and took a 31-25 advantage just about three minutes in on Gary McGhee's bucket inside. That's when Scott started to find his stroke from the perimeter, as back-to-back treys off Hansbrough passes erased the deficit.

A McGhee layup and Wanamaker trey pushed the home-standing Panthers back in front by five, but the Irish again responded to tie the game on two Tim Abromaitis free throws just about halfway through the second half.

Notre Dame grabbed its first second half lead at 42-41 on Hansbrough's three- pointer with just under 8 1/2 minutes to play. Scott set his feet and again connected from long range while being fouled and his subsequent free throw handed the Fighting Irish a 46-41 lead approaching the seven-minute mark.

Brown and Ashton Gibbs made consecutive buckets to keep the Panthers within one possession of the lead, but the final four-plus minutes belonged to Hansbrough. Notre Dame drained time off each possession and got the ball in its playmaker's hands. He dribbled from the right edge of the top of the circle straight to the rim on three pivotal trips, with each ending in a layup for the Notre Dame guard. His final layup opened a 53-49 lead with a little more than 2 1/2 minutes to go.

Pittsburgh cut the deficit to 54-51 on Wanamaker's reverse layup with just under 1 1/2 minutes to play, and he again had the basketball with a chance to trim the deficit further, but missed a wild layup attempt about 40 seconds later.

The Panthers decided not to foul and the Irish eventually found Hansbrough at the right wing. The guard got low and drove straight to the rim for another layup, icing the game with 17 seconds to play.

Game Notes

The victory marked Notre Dame's first road victory over a team ranked first or second under Brey...The Fighting Irish made 48.7 percent of its shots, while Pittsburgh connected on just 40 percent...Gibbs scored just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting...Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 29-27.