PITTSBURGH (AP) A self-professed ``raving lunatic'' while watching his team score just three points over the first 13:54 of the game, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey wasn't considering the potential consequences when he gave referee John Gaffney an earful.
``I was just so frustrated,'' Brey said. ``... He probably could have thrown me out because I stayed after him and he looked away, so I thank him for that.''
The No. 25 Irish might want to thank Brey for the resulting dramatic swing of momentum after an atrocious shooting start.
Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley scored 13 points each and Irish rallied from down 16 to beat No. 20 Pittsburgh 51-42 on Monday night.
The Irish missed 18 of their first 19 shots and trailed 19-3 after two free throws by Tray Woodall - resulting from Brey's technical.
But Notre Dame closed out the first half on a 16-3 run and continued to ride the momentum in the second half to win going away.
``I don't know, how much is it premeditated? I thought on some of our drives, we were getting bumped a little bit,'' Brey said of drawing the technical. ``Sometimes, that does change the vibe.''
Eric Atkins added 10 points and seven assists for Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East), which has won five in a row over Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6) and snapped a tie with the Panthers for fourth place in the conference. The top four teams get a double-bye in next month's league tournament.
Woodall had 11 points to lead the Panthers, who lost for the second time in three days since winning seven of eight.
They appeared to be cruising - especially defensively - until the entire game swung following Brey's technical.
``I definitely think so - there were seven or eight straight fouls called after that,'' Woodall said. ``I'm not sure if the refs eased up or put on binoculars or I don't know, but after that, the game just changed.
``We should have kept our composure and still played our same style, but I guess when you hear the whistle a couple times, you tend to back off a little bit. But that's just the way the game goes.''
The Irish missed their first 12 shots and did not have a field goal until 9:14 had elapsed in the game and they were trailing 11-1.
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