Pitt opens ACC play with 68-60 win over NC State
Pitt won its fifth straight gameon Friday night, as the Panthers went into Raleigh and defeated NC State by a score of 68-60. It marked Pitt's first win over The Wolfpack on the road since 2014. Jamarius Burton poured in a game-high 24 points to lead the Panthers, who have now won five straight games.
Pitt ended the first half on a 6-0 run to grab a 33-28 advantage heading into the break.The Panthers never relinquished the lead in the second half, and even led by as many as 12 points, but NC State made a late push to keep things interesting.
Every time it seemed like the home crowd would get into the game however, Pitt had an answer. The Wolfpack cut into Pitt's lead at 56-50, but Nike Sibande responded with a three-pointer to get the lead back to nine points. Burton and Sibande combined for 11 points down the stretch to help keep NC State on the ropes and the Panthers in control.
Sibande finished with 10 points off the bench. It is the fourth time in the last five games the Panthers' sixth man has reached double figures. Blake Hinson posted 13 points and 8 rebounds in 26 minutes of action, as the junior forward had to battle through some early foul trouble.
NC State leading scorer Jarkel Joiner came into Friday's game averaging over 17 points per game. The Pitt defense made it a point to not let the point guard beat them in this one. Joiner finished with 1 point on 0-12 shooting and also committed five turnovers.
The Panthers forced 12 turnovers from NC State, including 9 in the second half. For the game, NC State shot just 35% from the field, and 22% from three-point range.
The Wolfpack were led by Terquavion Smith, who posted a team-high 15 points. Big man DJ Burns chipped in with 13 points and 6 rebounds for Kevin Keatt's squad, who dropped to 7-2 on the season with the loss to Pitt.
Pitt won Monday's game against Northwestern with some red hot outside shooting, but that did not carry over to Friday. The Panthers were just 6-of-22 from deep, but scored 30 points in the paint. Pitt big man John Hugley finished with just 2 points, but Jeff Capel received a strong performance from reserve center Federiko Federiko, who had 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 block off the bench.
Pitt's five game winning streak is the longest the team has had since the early stages of the 2020-21 season. This is also Pitt's second consecutive win over NC State, after losing the previous 12 games in the series. The Panthers continue a tough road stretch into next week, when they travel to Vanderbilt for a road game against an SEC opponent.