Pitt Loses Narrowly to #15 NC State, 80-86
by Dan Damico
In their first ACC road tilt of the season, the Pittsburgh Panthers fell to the #15 NC State Wolfpack 86 to 80. Xavier Johnson lead the Panthers with 27 points while big man Terrell Brown finished the game just shy of a double-double with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
The action started early as Wolfpack forward Wyatt Walker was ejected with a flagrant technical foul after tripping Panther guard Xavier Johnson.
From that point on NC State took control of the game and held the lead for most of the first half despite losing two other players to injuries. The Wolfpack took advantage of 11 Panthers’ turnovers and shot just under 50% from the field in the first 20 minutes.
However, Pitt was able to keep the game close by shooting 85.7% from the charity stripe as the Wolfpack lead never reached double digits. The Panthers caught fire down the stretch and a 14 to 4 run was capped off by the Panthers’ first lead of the game. Jeff Capel’s squad headed into the locker room down by 1, 41 to 40, with Au’Diese Toney and Jared Wilson Frame leading the team with 9 points each.
The tides started to turn in the Panthers favor at the start of the second half but they could not sustain success. Pitt seesawed back and forth between scoring runs and scoring droughts while the Wolfpack could not find a bucket. Strong shooting from Xavier Johnson and role players Terrell Brown and Kham Davis rallied the Panthers to regain and extend their lead. Nevertheless, offensive woes at points and a massive discrepancy in offensive rebounds in favor of NC State held the Panthers’ largest lead to 5 points.
A game that featured 8 lead changes and 4 ties continued to go back and forth down the 5-minute mark. Sadly, for Panthers’ fans, this was the point when the Wolfpack could not seem to miss down the stretch and never looked back. NC State hit 9 of their last 10 shots from the field including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. The Panthers last ditch effort to stage a comeback fell just short and the Wolfpack escaped their own building with a win.
The Panthers will be back in action in just over 48 hours as they will take on yet another ranked opponent, the #13 Florida State Seminoles, at the Pete at 7:00 PM on Monday.