Pitt came out flat in this game and despite leading for much of it, couldn’t keep up with Notre Dame in the end in an ugly 56-51 defeat.
The defeat was only the second time in more than 50 games Pitt has lost at home. When you add in the fact that Notre Dame has been awful on the road this year (0-3), it makes the loss that much more puzzling. Maybe even more strange is the stranglehold the Irish have on Pitt. Notre Dame has beaten Pitt three straight times and four out of the past five games.
But the fact is that the Big East affords few breaks. Pitt just came off a game early Saturday evening and had to face Notre Dame two days later. This was still an upset, don’t get me wrong. But playing tough teams night in and night out eventually wears on you and there are going to be nights when a team doesn’t have their best game.
Pitt won the coveted rebounding battle, but plain and simple just didn’t shoot the ball well on Monday and were held to a season-low 51 points. The team shot a combined 40% and no starter played a great game. Gary McGhee was the only starter to hit 50% of his shots as he went 2-4 from the field.
The Panthers had a chance late in the game, but couldn’t get any stops as the Irish repeatedly got to the basket for layups.
This was a surprising loss, but in the grand scheme of things, this clearly is no time to panic. The team is still 19-2, in first place in the Big East, the nation’s toughest conference, and losing to a top 15 team isn’t the end of the world.
Pitt will try to get back on track on the road at Rutgers on Saturday.