Pittsburgh's Michael Young (2) celebrates a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Robert Franklin
January 09, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Fast starts in both halves were enough for No. 24 Pittsburgh to overcome slow finishes against Notre Dame.

The Panthers started the first half on a 13-0 run and the second half with a 9-2 spurt, building 18-point leads twice before having to hang on for an 86-82 victory Saturday in its first road game of the season.

''We were making stops early. That is how we got the lead,'' Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. ''We knew a run was coming, but I thought we kept making our shots and played good defense.''

Michael Young scored a season-high 25 points despite getting in foul trouble late in the first half, Jamel Artis had 19 points and Sheldon Jeter added 18 points, 14 in the second half, as the Panthers outscored Irish 40-24 in the paint and outrebounded the Irish 34-24.

The Irish used a 9-0 run to cut a 16-point deficit to 79-77 on a 3-pointer by Demetrius Jackson and layup by Steve Vasturia. James Robinson ended a 1-of-9 shooting streak for the Panthers with a basket inside.

The Irish (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed to 83-80 on a dunk by Jackson and had a chance to tie it on a 3-pointer by Matt Ryan, but it missed badly. Young hit a free throw with 11.5 seconds left. The Irish closed to 84-82 on a layup by Jackson with 6 seconds left, but Robinson made a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to clinch the win for the Panthers (14-1, 3-0).

''It's frustrating to start that way and have to dig out of a hole,'' Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. ''I wish we could have dug in a little better defensively to start the game like we did in the last 10 minutes of the game to make it interesting.''

Young said the Panthers, who entered the game scoring 80.5 points a game, which would be the highest scoring team in school history, didn't expect to score as much as they did.

''Our goal was to come in and play defense and rebound, and if we did that we would have a great chance at winning,'' he said. ''The points came, I started off hot and Sheldon (Jeter) came off the bench hot, but our rebounding was what won us the game.''

Young started the game with a three-point play 15 seconds in when he was fouled by Bonzie Colson and had 14 points in the first seven minutes on 5-of-6 shooting. He started the second half on the bench after picking up two fouls in the final 64 seconds of the first half.

Jackson led the Irish with 26 points, Bonzie Colson and Vasturia added 13 and Zach Auguste added 12. Jackson said the Irish need to start better.

''I think the way we play when we are done 18 is how we should play from the beginning,'' he said.


The Panthers have three players who transferred to Pitt after graduating elsewhere: Rafael Maia from Brown, Sterling Smith from Coppin State and enter Alonzo Nelson-Ododa from Richmond. Brey said it's something he will have to consider.

''That is an interesting dynamic which I think I have to have more of an open mind to because it does keep you really old. We've done the transfer thing before,'' he said.


Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game leading the nation in free throw shooting at 79 percent. They made 20 of 24 on Saturday. ... The Panthers were 10 of 19 from 3-point range, matching their season-high for 3-pointers. ... Pitt's reserves outscored Notre Dame's bench 26-10.

Notre Dame: Jackson had a career-high five 3-pointers. ... Notre Dame scored 43 points in the first half, the most allowed by Pitt in a half this season. ... Notre Dame's first turnover came 81 seconds into the second half when Rafael Maia stole the ball from Beachem. ... Auguste fouled out with 5:53 to play.


Pittsburgh: travels to Louisville on Thursday.

Notre Dame: hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

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