Pittsburgh vs Notre Dame

Irish win 28th straight game at home

CBSSports.com wire reports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Mike Brey called his team's victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night one of the most fun games he has coached since coming to South Bend.

Alex Dragicevich hit four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Fighting Irish to a 72-59 win over the No. 22 Panthers in the Big East opener for both teams.

"I have been a part of a lot of fun games here," Brey said. "But this one ranks right up there with the best. To see us play with that swagger in the second half, I guess I just wasn't sure this group was ready for that."

Jerian Grant added 15 points and nine assists, and Eric Atkins also scored 15 points for the Irish (9-5, 1-0), who trailed 26-25 at intermission but missed only seven shots in the final 20 minutes of play. Notre Dame was 18 of 25 from the field after the break, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

The onslaught was led by Dragicevich, who scored 17 points in the second half and made all three of his long range attempts.

"It was more of a collective effort than anything," Dragicevich said. "We all knew we needed this win and my teammates told me they were going to put me into a position to score and they did. I knocked a couple down and it was a great feeling."

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Jack Cooley pulled down 14 rebounds for Notre Dame.

The loss was Pitt's second straight after a 59-54 loss to Wagner at home on Friday, while Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 28 games.

Talib Zanna had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers (11-3, 0-1), who shot 40 percent from the field (24 for 60). Nasir Robinson and Ashton Gibbs each added 12 points for Pitt.

Starting guard Tray Woodall returned to the team after being sidelined nearly a month due to a groin/abdomen injury but was ineffective in 18 minutes of play, scoring no points and getting two assists while committing two turnovers.

"Tray is not where he needs to be," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "The doctors told us to let him play about 20 minutes but there is no ideal situation to bring him back other than what we did. We didn't know until today that he would be ready to play."

Dragicevich, Grant and Atkins each had just five points in the first half for Notre Dame, which was outrebounded 39-30 but made up for it with seven 3-pointers -- compared to just one for Pitt on 14 attempts.

Brey said he was pleased with the second-half performances he got from his three guards, but added he isn't satisfied.

"Now I need to ask them in practice if they can do that for 40 minutes," he said. "Tonight we did it for 20 and now we need more."

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Alex Dragicevich (right) connects for four 3-pointers and scores a game and career-high 22 points in Notre Dame's win. (AP)
Alex Dragicevich (right) connects for four 3-pointers and scores a game and career-high 22 points in Notre Dame's win. (AP)
Pittsburgh #22 (11-3)263359
Notre Dame (9-5) «254772
PITT:T. Zanna 13 Pts
PITT:T. Zanna 12 Reb
PITT:A. Gibbs 5 Ast
ND:A. Dragicevich 22 Pts
ND:J. Cooley 14 Reb
ND:J. Grant 9 Ast

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PittsburghNotre Dame
Talib Zanna
Jerian Grant
Pittsburgh Panthers
A. Gibbs, G345-102-225312
N. Robinson, F345-122-462212
L. Patterson, G-F283-82-26138
D. Taylor, F132-30-04144
C. Wright, G122-41-22005
T. Zanna, F285-103-4120213
T. Woodall, G180-50-00200
J. Johnson, G182-50-00345
J. Moore, F150-30-03020
N. Rivers, GDid Not Play
I. Epps, GDid Not Play
A. Nwankwo, FDid Not Play
M. Gilbert, CDid Not Play
D. Johnson, G-FDid Not Play
Totals 24-6010-1435141959
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
E. Atkins, G405-85-754215
A. Dragicevich, G338-132-420322
J. Grant, G335-122-319215
J. Cooley, F323-72-414138
S. Martin, G312-70-06234
T. Knight, F143-50-01016
P. Connaughton, G-F111-10-00202
J. Brooks, G50-00-00000
M. Broghammer, F10-00-00000
T. Abromaitis, FDid Not Play
G. Sherman, CDid Not Play
Totals 27-5311-1829181472
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Miami (Fla.)13-527-89
Notre Dame11-724-1231
Va. Tech10-820-1589
Florida St.8-1020-1482
Georgia Tech8-1021-1569
NC State5-1316-17123
Wake Forest2-1611-20159
Boston College0-187-25250
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