SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- After a slow start, Pittsburgh finished with a flourish.
Carl Krauser scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half as the fourth-ranked Panthers rallied for a 66-58 Big East Conference victory over Notre Dame.
Early on, the Panthers (22-1, 8-1 Big East) did not look anything like the nation's winningest team as they fell behind by 13 points less than six minutes into the contest. But known for their toughness, the Panthers methodically pecked away, pulling within 32-26 at halftime.
"We have guys that believe in each other and believe in what we're doing," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "That's what gets us through in the face of adversity and when things get tough."
Krauser made sure the rally continued after intermission. He buried a pair of 3-pointers in a 17-4 run in less than five minutes to start the second half, giving the Panthers the lead for good.
Julius Page added 17 points and Jaron Brown 11 for Pittsburgh, which shot 47 percent (24-of-51) and made 6-of-15 attempts from 3-point range.
Chris Thomas scored 23 points but had little help for Notre Dame (10-9, 4-5), which lost its third straight game.
In desperate need of some quality wins if they want to have any chance at securing an NCAA Tournament bid, the Fighting Irish started quickly, racing to a 15-2 lead.
"Over the last couple years, they always get off to an excellent start by hitting a lot of three's," Krauser said. "We just knew that if we kept our composure, followed the seniors, kept our young players in the game, and locked them down on defense that we'd be all right."
But the Fighting Irish lost a key component in the first half, when 6-11 forward Torin Francis left the contest with a back injury and did not return.
After getting back in the game, the Panthers slowly took control in the second half. Krauser sank two 3-pointers and Brown's shot from beyond the arc capped a 17-4 run that gave the Panthers a 43-36 lead with 15:02 remaining. They led the rest of the way, although the Fighting Irish did attempt to make things interesting.
"To play the way we did in the first half and only be down by six points, we knew that once we got it going they couldn't stop us," Page said.
Thomas' 3-pointer with 3:05 left pulled the Fighting Irish within 56-52, but Page answered 17 seconds later with his own shot from beyond the arc.
"They are a great team," Notre Dame guard Chris Quinn said. "There is a reason why they are number four in the nation and 22-1 and I think it's because they know how to win. We got close to them at the end and it didn't rattle them one bit."
Torrian Jones added 13 points for Notre Dame, which shot 39 percent (21-of-54), including 8-of-23 from 3-point range