SOUTH BEND, IND., JAN. 26 -- Notre Dame had No. 18 Virginia on the verge of an upset until Bryant Stith came to the rescue.
"I know I can score against almost anyone. I think my teammates have confidence in me so I just wanted to be the one to do it," Stith said today after scoring Virginia's last 19 points, including two free throws with seven seconds to play, that gave the Cavaliers a 68-67 win.
Along with Stith, Virginia had the luck, not the Irish. A bad pass with 11 seconds left gave the Cavaliers their final chance, and enabled Stith to score the last of his 28 points.
Notre Dame (7-11) was leading 57-49 when Stith made a 10-footer to start his spurt with 6:20 to play.
"Sometimes it even amazes me because it's just like a switch clicks off in my head and tells me to score. And I got in some situations where I could go one-on-one with a player and score," Stith said.
Notre Dame, which led 49-37 with 11:48 to play, was up 65-57 with 1:40 left when Elmer Bennett (21 points) made two free throws.
Stith made a layup with 1:29 to go and Bennett made a free throw five seconds later. Stith made a three-point play and, after a Notre Dame turnover, added another basket to trim the Irish lead to 66-64.
Following a timeout, Bennett hit a free throw with 25 seconds to play, but Stith responded with a basket that drew Virginia within 67-66 with 11 seconds left.
Notre Dame's Tim Singleton threw the ball out of bounds with a length-of-the-court pass, to give Virginia the ball and set the stage for Stith's free throws.
Notre Dame's last chance was foiled with three seconds left when Brooks Boyer stepped on the sideline.