ACC

Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis (1) shoots between Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) and V.J. Beachem (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

Young scores 25, No. 24 Pittsburgh beats Notre Dame 86-82

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Michael Young scored a season-high 26 points and No. 24 Pittsburgh held on after wasting a big lead for an 86-82 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Irish used a 9-0 run to cut a 16-point deficit to 79-77 on a 3-pointer by Demetrius Jackson and layup by Steve Vasturia. James Robinson ended a 1-of-9 shooting streak for the Panthers with a basket inside.

The Irish (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed to 83-80 on a dunk by Jackson and had a chance to tie it on a 3-pointer by Matt Ryan, but it missed badly. Young hit a free throw with 11.5 seconds left. The Irish closed to 84-82 on a layup with 6 seconds left, but Robinson made a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to clinch the win for the Panthers (14-1, 3-0).

Jamel Artis added 19 points for the Panthers and Sheldon Jeter had 18 as the Panthers dominated inside, outscoring the Irish 40-24 in the paint and outrebounding the Irish 34-24.

Jackson led the Irish with 26 points, Bonzie Colson and Steve Vasturia added 13 and Zach Auguste added 12.

Notre Dame cut Pittsburgh’s 18-point lead to four-points late in the first half, but the Panthers, playing their first road game, led 49-43 at halftime and regained control by opening the second half on a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Artis as the Panthers won their 10th straight.

The Irish, who lost at home for the first time this season, used a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 73-64 on a basket inside by Bonzie Colson. Young ended the run by the Irish by making 3 of 4 free throws, and Sheldon Jeter had a three-point play to extend the lead to 79-68.

Young started the game with a three-point play 15 seconds in when he was fouled by Bonzie Colson and had 14 points in the first seven minutes on 5-of-6 shooting. He sat the first 10 minutes of the second half, though, after picking up two fouls in the final 64 seconds of the first half.

The Panthers overwhelmed the Irish early, jumping to a 13-0 lead as the Irish missed their first four shots and the Panthers made it 15-2 when Young made his fourth straight shot. Pittsburgh hit 10 of its first 12 shots, extending the lead to 28-10 on a 3-pointer by Chris Jones. Demetrius Jackson began getting the Irish back into it by making four straight 3-pointers, cutting the lead to 33-22.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game leading the nation in free throw shooting at 79 percent. They made 20 of 24 on Saturday. … The Panthers were 10 of 19 from 3-point range. … Pitt’s reserves outscored Notre Dame’s bench 26-10.

Notre Dame: Jackson had a career-high five 3-pointers. … Notre Dame scored 43 points in the first half, the most allowed by Pitt in a half this season. … Notre Dame’s first turnover came 81 seconds into the second half when Rafael Maia stole the ball from Beachem. … Zach Auguste fouled out with 5:53 to play.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: travels to Louisville on Thursday.

Notre Dame: hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Indiana rallies past Notre Dame with 17-2 second half run

Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell (11), right, drives on Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson (11) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Following a Demetrius Jackson tip dunk with 6:32 remaining that gave Notre Dame a 71-63 lead, Indiana looked to be in serious trouble at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. They weren’t stringing together stops defensively, thus preventing them from making a dent in the Fighting Irish advantage despite knocking down shots on the other end.

But Indiana went to a zone defensively and received a much-needed spark from Troy Williams, sparking a 17-2 run that turned the eight-point deficit into an 80-73 victory.

The junior wing scored seven of Indiana’s final 17 points, finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds on the afternoon. Williams’ intensity, like that of his teammates, hasn’t always been present this season especially on the defensive end of the floor. But that changed down the stretch against Notre Dame, with Bonzie Colson (24 points, eight rebounds) and V.J. Beachem (18 points) both going quiet as a result. Notre Dame shot a respectable 45.5 percent in the second half, but a lot of that damage was done early in the stanza.

Mike Brey’s team led by as much as 16, but the Hoosiers managed to avoid the play that could have served as the knockout blow. Ultimately the Hoosiers would take advantage of Notre Dame’s missed opportunities, and their play in the final six-plus minutes should be something for Tom Crean’s team to build upon.

But the question that begs asking is a simple one: why can’t Indiana play that way on a consistent basis?

There’s no question that the talent is present, with Ferrell running the point and multiple players capable of scoring on the wings such as Williams, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. But there hasn’t been a consistent commitment to getting stops instead of simply relying on their offensive talents and the mindset that “we’ll just get the points back on the other end.”

If Indiana is to compete with the likes of Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue in Big Ten play, they have to play with greater consistency and commitment on defense. Colson and Zach Auguste were a big reason why Notre Dame scored 46 points in the paint, as Indiana continues to struggle with its interior defense and that may be a trend the Hoosiers simply have to deal with. The move to zone helped Indiana account for this issue, and unlike their failed comeback attempt against UNLV last month the Hoosiers finished the job this time around.

The last six-plus minutes showed, to a certain extent, what Indiana is capable of when fully engaged. But the fact that they don’t play that way consistently is why there’s been so much frustration with this group. Can Saturday’s win serve as the spark Indiana needs? That remains to be seen.

Broken left foot to sideline Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, talks to Mangok Mathiang during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-56. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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No. 17 Louisville’s 78-56 win over Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon came with a price, as a key member of their front court rotation was lost due to injury.

Junior forward Mangok Mathiang left the game in the second half and did not return, with it being revealed following the game that he’d broken a bone in his left foot. Due to undergo surgery to repair the break in the coming days, Mathiang is expected to miss anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Mathiang is the third Louisville front court player to suffer an injury over the last month. Freshman Deng Adel has been out since mid-November due to a sprained knee, and sophomore center Anas Mahmoud has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.

Without Mathiang there will be even more minutes to distribute amongst freshman Raymond Spalding and sophomores Chinanu Onuaku and Jaylen Johnson. Onuaku posted a double-double against WKU with ten points and 12 rebounds, and Johnson added eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

No. 11 North Carolina runs past No. 22 UCLA

North Carolina's Brice Johnson (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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After a slow start that saw them down by 11 in the first half, No. 11 North Carolina rallied to run past No. 22 UCLA, 89-76, on Saturday at the Barclays Center.

Using another huge effort from senior big man Brice Johnson, the Tar Heels soundly outplayed UCLA on the interior, even without starting junior Kennedy Meeks. Johnson finished with 27 points and nine rebounds and Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench as North Carolina had UCLA big man Thomas Welsh in foul trouble for much of the game.

Perimeter and transition defense was also problematic for UCLA as the Tar Heels were able to run at will in the second half. Joel Berry finished with 17 points on the afternoon while Marcus Paige added 10 points. North Carolina shot 52 percent from the field on the afternoon as they slowly wore down the UCLA defense.

The Bruins had 23 points from Isaac Hamilton, but the UCLA offense wasn’t strong enough to match the Tar Heels. Bryce Alford contributed 15 points, but he was only 4-for-14 from the field while Tony Parker had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Johnson continued his strong week for North Carolina. After scoring an initial career high of 25 against Tulane earlier this week, Johnson had 27 points and made 11 straight field goals against a front line that featured two McDonald’s All-Americans. With Johnson playing like that, it takes North Carolina to another level, even if they struggle to 4-for-19 3-point shooting like they did on Saturday.

Utah outlasts No. 7 Duke in overtime

Utah forward Jakob Poeltl (42) battles for a rebound against Duke center Marshall Plumlee (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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Utah overcame foul trouble and a limited second half from star sophomore center Jakob Poeltl as the Runnin’ Utes upset No. 7 Duke, 77-75, on Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

At the end of a wild game, Luke Kennard made a four-point play with under 10 seconds left and Duke trailing by six. Utah turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play with 6.7 seconds left, but Brandon Ingram missed the game-tying look just outside of the restricted area as Utah’s Kyle Kuzma recovered the defensive rebound and was fouled.

Poeltl quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls in the second half and didn’t score for over 20 minutes of game action before turning it on at the end of the game for Utah. The sophomore had multiple blocks at the rim, finished plays with rebounds and also attacked Duke senior center Marshall Plumlee on the offensive end — who was also battling foul problems.

Finishing with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Poeltl was a huge boost for Utah late, as they were carried for much of the second half by Kuzma. The sophomore forward scored 13 consecutive points for Utah during one stretch and he finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, taking advantage of Duke using smaller lineups when Plumlee wasn’t on the floor.

Duke struggled to adapt without senior forward Amile Jefferson, who is sitting out with a fractured foot. The Blue Devils used various zone looks in the first half and only slowed down Utah when Poeltl was on the bench in foul trouble. Sophomore guard Grayson Allen was also struggling with flu-like symptoms and only finished 3-for-17 from the floor for seven points for the Blue Devils.

Duke (9-2) struggled overall as a team, shooting 29 percent (23-for-77) from the field and 28 percent (8-for-28) from 3-point range. Freshman guard Luke Kennard paced Duke with 24 points — 10 of which came in overtime — while Matt Jones added 18 points. Freshman Brandon Ingram tallied 15 points for Duke.

Utah (9-2) also had a solid outing from guard Lorenzo Bonham, who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Without Jefferson, Utah outrebounded Duke 56-38 on the afternoon. Utah avenged a loss against Duke in last season’s Sweet 16 as they beat the Blue Devils for the first time since 1970.

This is a great win for Utah, who picks up a signature victory and showed that it could hang with elite teams without Poeltl on the floor for the whole game. Kuzma showed that he’s a matchup problem for plenty of teams and Bonham was also steady at both ends of the floor.

With only a limited rotation without Jefferson, Duke is still trying to figure out lineups — especially if Plumlee is battling foul trouble. Freshman center Chase Jeter still isn’t ready for major minutes and Brandon Ingram doesn’t help enough as a rebounder if he plays the four. It’ll be a trial-and-error process for Duke with some of these smaller lineups, but it’s encouraging that Kennard stepped up and attacked the way that he did.

Broken right foot to sideline Duke’s Jefferson one month

Amile Jefferson, Thomas Bryant
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Just prior to No. 7 Duke’s game against Utah at Madison Square Garden, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that senior forward Amile Jefferson would be out for a month due to a broken right foot.

Jefferson sat out the Blue Devils’ win over Georgia Southern, and with the timeframe provided by his coach the Philadelphia native won’t be back until mid-to-late January at the earliest. This is a big loss for Duke, as Jefferson has been their most consistent front court player to this point in the season.

Jefferson’s averaging 11.4 points and a team-best 10.3 rebounds per contest for Duke, which entered Saturday’s game with a 9-1 record.

With Jefferson out of the lineup guard Luke Kennard moved into the starting lineup with fellow freshman Brandon Ingram sliding down to the four. Ingram has improved his play in recent games, but he isn’t a particularly physical player. And with freshman Chase Jeter not ready for major minutes, the absence of Jefferson places more pressure upon the shoulders of Ingram and center Marshall Plumlee.