Game Blog: Pittsburgh handles NC State late for 74-62 win
Posted January 4
Raleigh, N.C. — NC State dominated the first half but Pitt took over after the break for a 74-62 win over the Wolfpack.
5:07 second half; Pitt 63, NC State 53: NC State cannot seem to get the ball in the basket as Pitt came out from the break on a tear and hasn't stopped. Pitt's Lamar Patterson leads the team with 16 points.
11:51 second half; Pitt 54, NC State 44: Pittsburgh continues to hit lights out in the second half shooting 80% from the field. NC State has hit just two baskets in the second half.
15:29 second half; Pitt 40, NC State 38: Pittsburgh's Cameron Wright hits a layup that gives Pitt their first lead of the game.
17:18 second half; NC State 38, Pitt 36: Pittsburgh has cut the NC State lead to two thanks to two three-pointers right out of the gate.
Halftime: NC State 34, Pitt 26: NC State's TJ Warren is leading the Wolfpack with 13 points. He is the only player on the court for either side in double digits. Pitt is taking advantage of NC State turnovers, with 10 of their points coming off of 9 Wolfpack turnovers. Jamel Artis and Talib Zanna both have six points for Pitt.
3:33 first half; NC State 27, Pitt 20: BeeJay Anya had two slams and TJ Warren continues to hit as the Wolfpack is staying ahead of Pittsburgh despite their offensive spurt.
7:22 first half; NC State 21, Pitt 15: Pittsburgh went on an 11-2 run to cut the Wolfpack lead to 21-15. The Pittsburgh offense has finally found life.
11:50 first half; NC State 19, Pitt 4: NC State's TJ Warren came out of the break and scored 7 straight points before Pitt grabbed their second field goal of the game. At the under-12 State leads 19-4 after a backwards alley-oop by Jordan Vandenberg.
15:37 first half; NC State 10, Pitt 2: Four different Wolfpack starters have scored in the first four minutes and change. Defensively they are keeping Pittsburgh from getting to the basket and forcing outside shots. Pitt's lone basket comes from Michael Young.
Pregame: The Atlantic Coast Conference schedule tips off for both the Pittsburgh Panthers and the NC State Wolfpack at PNC Arena on Saturday afternoon (12 p.m., WRAL-TV, Mix 101.5 FM).
NC State played very well during nonconference action, winning 10 of its 13 matchups, including a 68-64 road triumph over UNC Greensboro on Monday night. The Wolfpack have performed well at home (8-2), although they lost their most recent game at PNC Arena to nationally-ranked Missouri on Dec. 28, 68-64.
Pitt has gotten off to an outstanding 12-1 start to the season, with its only loss coming to Cincinnati on Dec. 17 as part of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, 44-43. The Panthers have since rebounded with two straight wins over Cal Poly (73-56) and Albany (58-46), but this contest will mark their first true road game and their first-ever league matchup as an ACC member.
The Wolfpack hold a decisive 9-1 advantage over Pitt in the all-time series, although the squads haven't played one another since 1991.
The Wolfpack nearly saw their 17-point second-half lead disappear down the stretch of their latest game against UNCG, but they managed to hold on for the victory despite posting disappointing percentages from the field (.407), beyond the arc (.167) and the foul line (.576).
T.J. Warren was the spark plug in the triumph with 24 points and nine rebounds. Anthony Barber was just 4- of-14 from the field but still finished with 17 points and six assists, while Desmond Lee added 15 points.
Not unlike Pitt, NC State has been equally strong on offense and defense this season, as it outshoots its opponents from the field, 48.3 percent to 39.6 percent, for a +8.2 scoring margin.
It has its weaknesses as well however, as it makes just 4.5 3-pointers per game at a 30.1 percent success rate while also shooting only 64.2 percent from the free-throw line. Warren has established himself as one of the nation's premiere scorers, ranking fourth in Division I with 23.9 ppg (on 54.1 percent from the field) to go with a team- high 7.8 rpg.
Barber brings 12.2 ppg and 4.5 apg to the table, while Lee rounds of the double-digit scorers with 10.8 ppg.
The Panthers were far from impressive in their most recent contest on the offensive end of the floor, as they shot 44.4 percent from the field (including 1-of-10 from 3-point range) and just 9-of-16 from the free-throw line, but they still cruised to a 12-point victory by holding Albany to a lowly 31.4 percent shooting from the field.
Cameron Wright's strong all-around performance sparked the win, as he tallied 14 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and three steals. Lamar Patterson netted 14 points, while Talib Zanna narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Pitt has ran out to a fast start this season by boasting strong play on both ends of the court, as it outshoots its opponents from the field, 48 percent to 39.5 percent, for a +18.3 scoring margin while also living in the green in terms of rebounding (+10.4) and turnovers (+2.6).
Patterson leads the way with 16.8 ppg on strong percentages from the field (.521), 3-point range (.429) and the free-throw line (.790), while adding a team-high 4.5 apg to boot. Zanna (11.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Wright (11.3 ppg) have also been solid, both shooting greater than 51 percent from the field.