Senior Carl Krauser fouled out with just over two minutes to play in regulation against Notre Dame. Without him, the Panthers blew a lead late in the game to force the extra sessions.
Then, the younger players took up the mantle and persevered, leading the Panthers to the 100-97 victory in double overtime. Levance Fields took over at the point and ran the team flawlessly, Sam Young scored seven of his 15 points after the end of regulation, and Ronald Ramon hit the game-winning three-pointer with 16 seconds left in the second overtime.
That's two freshmen and a sophomore playing key roles. Jamie Dixon's recruits, not Ben Howland's. The next generation of Panther leaders, not the last link to the Pitt teams of the past few years that made a habit of gutty play and NCAA Tournament trips.
This was, and is, Carl Krauser's team when all is said and done. But the early indications are that Dixon's program won't collapse at the end of the season when Krauser leaves, either.
Team Report: Notes and Quotes
--Pitt's victory over Notre Dame was its fifth in a row over the Fighting Irish. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the two teams will not meet again during the regular season.
--Notre Dame made 14 of its 36 three-point attempts against the Panthers. Coach Jamie Dixon even considered fouling the red-hot shooters late in the game to keep the Irish in check.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "These guys came out and battled and fought so hard in those two overtimes. They simulated what we do in practice. After every practice we go for five minutes. I went to the guys and said this is going to be just like practice. This is another five minutes you have to get past. It wound up being 10 minutes." -- Senior guard Carl Krauser, after the double-overtime victory over Notre Dame, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Team Report: Roster Report
PLAYER ROTATION: G Carl Krauser, G Ronald Ramon, F John DeGroat, F Levon Kendall, C Aaron Gray. Key Subs -- G Levance Fields, G Antonio Graves, F Sam Young, G Keith Benjamin, F Tyrell Biggs.
Pittsburgh 100, Notre Dame 97 (2 OT)
vs. DePaul, Tuesday, Jan. 12
at Louisville, Sunday, Jan. 15
at Rutgers, Wednesday, Jan. 18
at St. John's, Saturday, Jan. 21
KEYS: The Panthers follow up the DePaul home game with a three-game road stretch. It should be another test for the younger members of the squad, who face three games in three states in six days.
--C Aaron Gray had a night to remember against Notre Dame. He set career highs in points (25), field goals made (11), and field goal attempts (18), and scored his seventh double-double of the season by adding 12 rebounds.
--F Sam Young had the first double-double of his young career against Notre Dame, with 15 points and 12 rebounds.