It's been a bit of an up and down season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish so far in 2011, but they got their first big victory of the season on Tuesday night as they upset the No. 22 Pittsburgh Panthers. In the first Big East conference game of the season for each team, the Fighting Irish rode a dominant second half to a 72-59 victory.
Notre Dame had struggled against ranked opponents this season coming into Tuesday's game, but they broke out in the second half against Pittsburgh to walk away with the victory. After trailing 26-25 going into halftime, the Fighting Irish found some offensive rhythm in the second half while continuing to stifle the Panthers on the other end. The Panthers were able to score at a decent clip when they got inside, but they were a brutal 1-for-14 on three-point shots.
The Irish got a breakout game from sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich, who scored a career-high 22 points as he continues to assert himself into the Notre Dame offense. After rarely playing as a freshman, he's averaged 14.4 points per game over his past five. The Panthers were led in scoring by Talib Zanna, who came off the bench to put up 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Three of Notre Dame's five losses on the season have come against ranked opponents. Their first loss of the year came against then-No. 21 Missouri, and they've also lost to then-No. 18 Gonzaga and, recently, then-No. 20 Indiana.
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