Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - James Robinson made a tough go-ahead runner in the lane with 12 seconds remaining as Pittsburgh took down No. 8 Notre Dame 76-72 in a wild finish on Saturday afternoon.
The Fighting Irish nearly pulled off an improbable comeback when Jerian Grant shook off a slow start and went on a personal 9-0 run inside the final three minutes.
Grant's two free throws with 31.2 seconds left gave Notre Dame a 72-71 lead, but Robinson drove right, gained some space with a spin move and scored over Pat Connaughton for what proved to be the deciding bucket.
"The play was for me to come off the handoff and just make a play," Robinson said. "My team had a lot of faith in me to make the play and coach (Jamie Dixon) called a good play and we executed really well."
Grant passed up a shot at the other end with Steve Vasturia open in the corner, and Vasturia's shot was off the mark. Jamel Artis grabbed the rebound, made two free throws, and Pitt stole the ensuing inbounds pass to end its three-game losing streak.
Artis finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Robinson added 15 points with 10 assists for the Panthers (14-8, 4-5 ACC), who shot 68 percent from the field in the second half and 59 percent overall.
Demetrius Jackson led Notre Dame with 15 points, Grant chipped in with 14, and Vasturia and Zach Auguste each netted 12 in a losing cause.
Notre Dame (20-3, 8-2) had won five in a row -- four in comeback fashion -- and was fresh off a signature victory over No. 4 Duke.
Jackson made a basket while being fouled with under eight minutes to play, tying it at 62-62, but the sophomore missed the ensuing free throw and Notre Dame went the next 5 1/2 minutes without making a field goal.
Two free throws by James Robinson with 3:05 remaining capped an 8-0 run and gave Pitt a 71-63 lead, but Grant, who was 2-for-7 from the field at the time, erupted for nine consecutive points via four free throws, a mid-range jumper and a pullup 3-pointer.
Notre Dame held the biggest lead in a tight first half at 20-13 after V.J. Beachem drained a corner 3-pointer.
Dixon immediately called a timeout to stem the tide, and his Panthers responded by scoring on their next seven possessions to jump in front.
Connaughton scored the final five points of the half to send the Irish into the break with a slim 38-37 lead.
Both teams shot over 51 percent in the opening 20 minutes, par for the course for an Irish team that came in ranked second nationally in field goal percentage (.521), but abnormally high for a Pitt, which had made just 40.1 percent of its shots against ACC opponents.
Yet the Panthers kept pace early in the second half, making their first six shots to match Notre Dame basket for basket.
"(The Panthers) were really in a groove offensively and I think our defense hurt us today," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "We could never get enough stops to really win the game. We were scoring the whole time and this group has been able to get stops, especially in the last seven or eight minutes, to usually escape."
Pitt owns a 14-3 record vs. top-10 opponents at Petersen Events Center ... Notre Dame shot 53.1 percent from the field ... The Panthers assisted on 24 of their 31 baskets.