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Pitt falls to ND in the Big East quarterfinals

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NEW YORK — No. 2 Pitt fell to No. 7 seed Notre Dame, 50-45, on Thursday night in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden.

It was the second lowest-scoring Big East Tournament game in 51 tries for the Panthers, who lost in the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed for the second year in a row. Pitt scored 42 in the title-game loss to Georgetown three years ago.

The Panthers scored 16 points in the second half, managed only one field goal over the final 6:50 and went 0 for 5 from the field in the final 47 seconds.

Pitt (24-8), with multiple chances in the second half, could never forge a tie with the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame (23-10) advanced to the semifinals to play No. 3 seed West Virginia.

With the Pitt loss, teams that received a double-bye dropped to 0-3 in the quarterfinals heading into the West Virginia-Cincinnati game.

Pitt will learn its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday, as the Panthers appear certain to reach March Madness for the ninth year in a row.

In front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd of 19,375 that included former President Bill Clinton, Pitt lost to Notre Dame for the second time in two weeks, following a 68-53 setback in South Bend.

Tory Jackson and Luke Harangody each scored 12 points to lead Notre Dame, which has won six in a row to reach the Big East semifinals for only the third time.

Brad Wanamaker led Pitt with 16 points and Jermaine Dixon added 10. Pitt’s leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs, finished with four points, his second lowest total of the season. He went 2 for 4 from the field.

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