Notre Dame advanced to the semifinal of the Big East for only the third time since they joined the conference when they defeated Pittsburgh 50-45 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

The Irish won their sixth game on the trot as they took the teeth out of the Panthers in a tense and low scoring game.

Luke Harangody (above) played 22 minutes but contributed 12 points and a crucial rebound at the end that thwarted the Panther resurgence.

Tory Jackson also chipped in with 12 points in a tight defensive game that was still in doubt in the final minute.

While the first half saw Notre Dame move the ball well and make some impressive plays, they were still only three points ahead of their opponents at the break, leading 32-29.

The second half saw just 34 points scored as the game came down to defense and then some more defense.

“I have never been so thrilled to see 45 up there. We had to defend to win the game because they shut us down. I though our defense in the last seven minutes won the game,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told ESPN after the game.

“We are really proud of our group and it is great to be playing on Friday.

“We just want to keep riding the karma.”

Fighting Irish mascot, leprechaun Dan Collins, was in the Garden roaring on the team, as was former President Bill Clinton, who looked well following his recent health scare.

Notre Dame will play their semi final game on Friday night when they take on West Virginia.