PITTSBURGH — Facing their toughest test of the season in a sold-out Petersen Events Center, the Panthers went cold on Saturday, shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor in a 85-60 loss to North Carolina.
With the Tar Heels spending most of the game in a passive 2-3 zone, Pitt had plenty of opportunities to shoot the long, but was able to connect on just 2 of 19 from the outside.
Senior wing Jared Wilson-Frame, Pitt’s best 3-point shooter, was held to five points on 2 of 10 shooting before fouling out just past the midway point of the second half.
Inside, the Panthers ran into just as much trouble against the North Carolina zone, which frequently featured four players at 6-foot-7 or taller. The Panthers overall shooting percentage was their worst of the season by a significant margin. Their previous low was 31.5 percent at West Virginia.
The one thing Pitt was able to do with regularity was get to the free-throw line, but they were stymied there, as well. They made just 20 of their 32 from the charity stripe, for 62.5 percent.
Carolina’s offensive charge was led by freshman lead guard Coby White, who had 22 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including 4 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc. Former Pitt guard Cameron Johnson was a weapon from long range, as well, hitting 3 of 6 from outside and finishing with 15 points.
Preseason ACC Player of the Year Luke Maye finished with a double-double, adding 11 rebounds to his 17 points. Carolina out-rebounded Pitt, 51-46 overall.
Trey McGowens led the Panthers with 17 points and Xavier Johnson had 14, extending his streak of 10-plus-point games to 14 to start his career. Junior wing Malik Ellison also got to double figures, scoring 10 on 5 of 10 shooting.
Pitt will wrap up its five-game homestand against Louisville on Jan. 9. That game has an 8 p.m. tipoff.