RALEIGH, N.C. — For the first time in a month, Pitt looked like Pitt again, but it wasn’t quite enough for a victory on the road against NC State.
The Panthers got their driving guards moving down hill, they got their wings involved in the offense, and the combination led to Pitt’s highest-scoring game since Feb. 8.
But the Panthers’ offense ran out of steam down the stretch, missing 11 of 15 from the floor in the games’ final 10 minutes and NC State prevailed, 77-73.
In addition to not being able to find a basket down the stretch, Pitt also had an uncharacteristically poor afternoon from the free-throw line, finished 14 of 25 for a 56% day from the stripe.
Au’Diese Toney was the major offensive driver for the Panthers, taking pocket passes and kick-outs from the driving Pitt guards to score 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting.
Xavier Johnson was 5 of 14 for 12 points and hit two of his four from 3-point range. As a team, Pitt shot 6 of 12 from long range.
Pitt had the opportunity to close late, when both Jericole Hellems and DJ Funderbunk fouled out for NC State, leaving the Wolfpack rotation thin, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize offensively during that time frame.
Eric Hamilton led the Panthers with 10 rebounds and also had 10 points. The Panthers played just six players more than 10 minutes, with Justin Champagnie, Johnson, Trey McGowens and Toney all playing more than 35 minutes.
Pitt will wrap its regular season at Georgia Tech on March 4.