March 8, 2001
Head Coach Mike Brey
By HAL BOCK
NEW YORK (AP) - Pittsburgh threw a defensive curtain over All-American Troy Murphy on Thursday night and stunned No. 19 Notre Dame 66-54 to advance to the semifinals of the Big East tournament.
The Panthers will face either Syracuse or Providence, who played in the second game of the night doubleheader. Boston College and Seton Hall, winners in earlier games Thursday, will meet in the other semifinal.
Ricardo Greer led four Pitt players in double figures with 17 points as the Panthers (17-12) withstood a 3-point attack by Notre Dame to reach the tournament semifinals for the first time since 1989. Brandin Knight had 10 points and 11 assists, and Isaac Hawkins contributed 12 rebounds.
Murphy, averaging 22.6 points per game, managed just eight against a smothering Pitt defense that denied him the ball all night long. It was the second-lowest total of his career. He had five points in a game against Syracuse in his freshman year when he shot 0-for-11 from the floor.
It was also the third straight bad game for Murphy, who had 17 against Connecticut and Georgetown, both losses for the Irish (19-9).
Pitt opened the game with a 15-2 run only to have Notre Dame reverse that with a 15-2 spurt of its own. But the Panthers weathered the comeback and by halftime had rebuilt the lead to 36-29.
With Greer and Jaron Brown - who scored 14 points off the bench - doing much
of the work, Pitt stayed on top in the second half, rarely allowing Murphy near
the ball and never letting Notre Dame get closer than four points.
The Panthers struggled from the foul line down the stretch, missing opportunities to extend the lead even more. For the game, they made just 12 of 24 free throws. But Notre Dame got to the foul line only four times and that proved decisive.
Martin Inglesby, who made five of Notre Dame's 12 3-pointers, led the Irish with 15 points.