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No. 18 Pittsburgh staves off Irish run down the stretch

Pat Leonard | Monday, February 14, 2005

Chris Quinn and Chris Thomas combined for 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds Saturday afternoon, but it was Pittsburgh’s star point guard who had the final say on his home floor.Carl Krauser sank a runner in the lane with nine seconds left, and the Panthers (17-4, 7-3 Big East) held onto a two-point lead as Pittsburgh beat Notre Dame (14-7, 6-5) at the Petersen Events Center, 68-66.Krauser, who finished with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, scored six of his team’s last eight points. With the loss, Notre Dame fell for the second time in its final contest of a four-game slate against ranked opponents.Quinn (10-of-15) and Thomas (6-of-12) carried the Irish all afternoon with solid field goal shooting, also combining to make 9-of-11 shots from behind the arc.Quinn almost played the hero for Notre Dame, scoring six straight points in 47 seconds to give the Irish their final lead, 62-61, with 2:01 to play. Quinn also hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 65 with 42 seconds to go.But after Krauser converted the floater, Rick Cornett made 1-of-2 free throws. The Panthers’ Ronald Roman made the second of two foul shots to put his team up two, and Pittsburgh stole a full court inbounds pass to end the game.The Irish led by as many as five after a Thomas 3-pointer made the score 49-44 with 12:55 to play, but the Panthers responded with a 14-1 run – with Krauser and center Chris Taft on the bench – in under six minutes. Pittsburgh forward Chevon Troutman (13 points, four rebounds) converted two free throws with 7:05 remaining to give Pittsburgh a 58-50 lead.Notre Dame made 48.3 percent of its 3-pointers on 14-of-29 shooting.But less than a week after tying his career high with 23 points against Boston College, Irish guard Colin Falls shot a frustrating 2-of-11 from the field, making just 1-of-10 3-point shots.The point production of Notre Dame’s big men also forced Thomas and Quinn to put the team on their backs.Torin Francis scored one point and committed four turnovers in 26 minutes. Dennis Latimore had two points and four fouls in 19 minutes, and Cornett managed only one point and three turnovers in 13 minutes.Officials called Notre Dame for 18 fouls to Pittsburgh’s nine total personals, and Irish forward Jordan Cornette (10 points) fouled out with 4:08 remaining.Pittsburgh built its largest lead of the game in the first half, jumping out to a 25-12 advantage on an Aaron Gray jumper with 5:55 left in the half. Notre Dame then went on an 18-8 run before Krauser hit a jump shot with 4 seconds left to make the score 35-30 at half.Notre Dame is now 2-4 in its last six conference games after a 4-1 start in Big East play. The Irish host Georgetown at the Joyce Center Wednesday at 8 p.m.