Raleigh, NC – The NC State men’s basketball team downed Pittsburgh 79-74 Tuesday night in PNC Arena to improve to 13-6 (2-4 ACC). NC State is now 11-1 at home. With the loss, Pitt falls to 12-7 (1-5 ACC).
After a tight opening 30 minutes that saw neither team able to take control, Pittsburgh appeared on the verge of beginning to pull away after a basket by Michael Young gave the Panthers a seven point lead, 69-62, with 8:03 to play.
Young’s basket though proved to be the second-to-last basket of the night for Pittsburgh as NC State clamped down on defense in the final eight minutes, ending the game on a 17-5 run .
Pittsburgh’s lone basket in the eight minutes did not come out of an offensive set, but was on a put-back layup by Chris Jones with 4:47 to play. The Panthers other three points in the final minutes came at the free throw line.
Maverick Rowan and Terry Henderson both tallied 21 points to lead the Wolfpack. Henderson also added eight rebounds and four assists. Omer Yurtseven recorded the first double-double of his career with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Dennis Smith, Jr. added 11 points and six assists.
Markell Johnson led the Pack off the bench with an ACC-high eight points and a career-high seven assists.
NC State led most of the first half, but Pittsburgh stayed within reach. After an early 7-0 run gave NC State a 15-7 lead, Pitt answered with a 7-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to one. NC State pushed its lead to six, 31-25, with 4:40 left until the half, but Pitt again rallied, this time with a 9-2 run to take a one point with one minute left until the break. A Smith dunk with less than a minute remaining sent the Pack into the locker room with a 35-34 halftime lead.
Both teams came out of the locker room on fire as the Pack hit seven of its first eight field goal attempts and Pitt hit seven of its first nine. The Panthers ended up hitting 14 of their first 18 field goal attempts in the second half, but were just 1-of-11 from the field in the final eight minutes of the game.
Free throws from Yurtseven, Rowan and Henderson sealed the game, as NC State earned the 79-74 victory.
NC State will conclude its three-game home stand Saturday at 2 p.m. when Wake Forest visits PNC Arena. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.