Feb. 3, 2001
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Although the start wasn't very good, the finish was just
what No. 23 Notre Dame needed to extend its winning streak to five games.
Troy Murphy and David Graves each scored 24 points as Notre Dame won 75-67
Saturday night over Pittsburgh, whose leading scorer got hurt just before the
Ricardo Greer was unable to start for the first time this season because he
developed back spasms just before the game. Greer, who averages almost 33
minutes and 16.3 points per game, played 16 minutes and scored nine points.
Pitt coach Ben Howland said he got the news on Greer just minutes before the
Panthers took the floor.
"It's a tough break when you know your best player can't start," Howland
Pitt, which upset nationally ranked Georgetown and Seton Hall last month,
looked like it was ready to knock off the Fighting Irish, too. The Panthers
jumped out to a 21-10 lead 6:55 into the game.
"They got out of the gate on us," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
"Pittsburgh is very methodical and early on we followed them around. Later in
the game, we did a much better job of reacting."
The Fighting Irish also did a better job with shot selection and accuracy.
Notre Dame (14-5, 5-2 in Big East) broke out of a shooting slump that saw the
Irish shoot under 45 percent for six consecutive games. They were 27-for-50 for
What pleased Brey most was the defensive play and Notre Dame's ability to
withstand the tough start in a hostile environment.
"We have some momentum now," Brey said. "Now we know who we are and we
can just continue to fine-tune. We have a different look and body language
right now. We feel good."
After falling behind by 11 in the first half, Notre Dame went on a 13-0 run
to take a 23-21 lead. Pitt (12-8, 4-5), which went 7:41 without scoring, has
alternated wins and losses the past seven games.
Pittsburgh got within four with 13:23 left in the second half before Notre
Dame answered with a 9-2 run that included seven points from Graves. He hit
Notre Dame's only successful 3-pointer in that stretch.
Graves doesn't start for the Irish, and Brey thinks watching the first part
of the game helps him.
"He is playing with so much confidence right now," Brey said. "He has
been relishing his role. It's great for him to see things from the bench early
on and come into the game and make an impact."
Ryan Humphrey scored 16 points for the Fighting Irish and added a game-high
Murphy had his 70th consecutive game in double figures while Graves
established a season high for points. He scored 23 against Canisius on Dec. 19.
Donatas Zavackas led Pittsburgh with 22 points and was 5-of-6 on 3-point
attempts. Isaac Hawkins and Julius Page scored 10 points each.
Pitt announced that Greer was sent for MRI tests immediately after the game.