January 7, 2003
PITTSBURGH -- The main criticism of No. 6 Pittsburgh has been that it hasn't beaten a quality opponent. No one can say that now.
Ontario Lett scored 10 straight to start Pittsburgh's comeback in the first half, then used his size and muscle to power a 16-0 run in the second as the Panthers overwhelmed No. 5 Notre Dame 72-55 Monday night.
"I was sick to my gut all day about this game," Pitt coach Ben Howland said. "I'm relieved this is over."
Notre Dame, denied its fourth victory over a Top 10 opponent, went scoreless for nearly nine minutes as Pitt turned a 42-38 deficit into a 54-42 lead with 9:12 left. The Irish had two field goals, both 3-pointers, over the final 161/2 minutes.
"Defense and rebounding wins games," Howland said. "Our guys are proud of the way they play defense."
Pitt is 42-1 under Howland when holding teams to 60 points or fewer, with the loss being to Notre Dame last season.
Brandin Knight finished off three fastbreak baskets during the 16-0 run, one off a pretty pass from Lett, and Chevy Troutman scored on a putback and a layup.
Knight had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals, and he and Julius Page held Notre Dame's Chris Thomas to five points on 2-of-15 shooting. Thomas was averaging 17.4 points.
"He threw up some questionable shots, and he was kind of pressing a little bit to get them back into the game," Knight said of Thomas.
NO. 14 KANSAS 83, IOWA ST. 54: Nick Collison, playing in his home state for the last time, scored a career-high 31 as the visiting Jayhawks began defense of their Big 12 title with a romp.
With former Kansas star Danny Manning watching from behind the bench, the Jayhawks won their 12th straight conference opener and extended their record winning streak in Big 12 regular-season games to 21.
Manning was 0-4 against Iowa State in Ames, but he had plenty to enjoy on this trip as the Jayhawks dominated the Cyclones from the opening tip and built a 20-point lead eight minutes in.
KANSAS ST. 71, UCF 59: Marques Hayden had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the host Wildcats survived a comeback bid to win their seventh straight, tying their longest winning streak since 1998.
DELAWARE ST. 70, B-CC 47: Andre Matthews led five players in double figures with 15 points for the host Hornets.
TROY ST. 85, STETSON 81: Rob Lewin scored a career-high 25 on 10-of-13 shooting, including six dunks, as the visiting Trojans held off an upset bid.
MERCER 71, JU 68: Aleem Muhammad scored 19 and Scott Emerson added 17 as the visiting Bears survived a late rally.