PITTSBURGH — Pitt jumped out to a 20-point first-half lead and held on for a 66-52 victory over North Carolina on Saturday afternoon, giving Pitt a season sweep against the historic Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse.
Pitt also beat the Tar Heels on Jan. 8, the program’s first win in Chapel Hill. The two-game sweep of North Carolina is Pitt’s first of a conference foe since beating Syracuse twice in 2014-15.
Point guard Xavier Johnson paced the Pitt offense with 20 points on 4 of 11 shooting and made 12 trips to the free-throw line, sinking 10. Johnson was also Pitt’s leader in assists (six) and tied for the team lead in rebounds with six.
Ryan Murphy was a big part of Pitt’s hot start shooting. He was 4 of 6 in the first half and finished 5 of 10 for 13 points.
The Panthers exerted extensive defensive pressure on North Carolina, holding the Tar Heels to a 31.7 shooting percentage and forcing 21 turnovers that they turned into 23 points.
Carolina enjoyed a significant rebounding advantage, particularly on the offensive glass, where the Tar Heels pulled down 21 boards for 24 second-chance points.
An extended cold shooting streak from Pitt let the Tar Heels back into the game late. At one point, Pitt miseducating 14 of 15 straight shots from the field in the second half.
Up next, Pitt will host Boston College on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m.