PITTSBURGH — Pitt squandered a 16-point first half lead and was unable to finish in crunch time as Wake Forest upset the Panthers, 69-65 at Petersen Events Center on Saturday afternoon.
Pitt guard Trey McGowens’ layup attempt in the final seconds was blocked by Olivier Sarr, sealing the victory for the Demon Deacons.
Pitt rocketed out to a 22-8 lead in the game’s first eight minutes, only to see it completely evaporate by the start of the second half.
The Panthers shot 39% on the afternoon, but it came in wild swings, as Pitt used a hot streak to build its early lead but then went ice cold as Wake Forest charged back.
They went cold once again late in the game, as Pitt finished the game by missing its final five shots and six of its last seven. McGowens had two looks at the rim and Xavier Johnson had one in the final minute, but neither could come through with a bucket.
Junior guard Ryan Murphy led the Panthers with 18 points. He was 7 of 12 from the floor and 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He was joined by McGowens (12 points), Justin Champagnie (11 points) and Johnson (11 points) in double figures for the Panthers.
Champagnie also tied Eric Hamilton for the team with eight rebounds. He and Murphy each played over 39 minutes as the Panthers dealt with the loss of Au’Diese Toney, who missed the game with an elbow injury suffered in practice.
Pitt, now 10-4 and 1-2 in ACC play, will head on the road for two games, visiting North Carolina on Jan. 8 and Miami on Jan. 12.