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Pitt improves to 6-6 after impressive road win at NC State

Freshman guard, Jaland Lowe, scored 20 points, as Pitt survived NC State, 67-64, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Wednesday night.

It was the fifth victory in the past six games for the Panthers, who started out 1-5 in the ACC conference. The win improves Pitt to 15-8, overall, and 6-6 in the conference.

Senior forward, Blake Hinson, added 16 points while freshman guard, Carlton Carrington, contributed 12 for a Panthers squad that shot 42.3 percent from the field.

Lowe was seven of 12 from the floor and five for five from the free-throw line.

It was a game of ebbs and flows for the Panthers, who led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Wolfpack stormed back to tie the score at 30. Pitt then rattled off eight unanswered points to take a 38-30 lead into the locker room.

The Panthers opened up a 13-point lead in the second half before NC State charged back and made it a nip-and-tuck affair over the final 10 minutes. The Wolfpack briefly led by two points with less than six minutes remaining, but Pitt never buckled down the stretch and was eventually able to take a three-point lead, which it then held onto at the buzzer.

It wasn’t a great night behind the arc for the Panthers, who made just five of 21 three-point tries–including three of 10 for Hinson.

Perhaps the difference in the narrow victory was Pitt’s ability to make its free throws. The Panthers have shown a knack for drawing fouls as of late but not necessarily for turning those fouls into points. But they were an impressive 18 of 20 on Wednesday night.

The win pushes the Panthers to the top half of the 15-team ACC with eight games remaining. Pitt also inched up ever so slightly in the now all-important NET Rankings and Quad Wins category from 64th to 63rd place. The Panthers are still clearly on the tournament bubble, but they’re now ranked higher than NC State, who dropped to 7-5 in ACC play. The Panthers are also rated above both Miami (69) and Syracuse (87), who they lost to earlier in the season.

Next up for the Panthers is another road game against a red-hot Virginia team next Tuesday night. The Cavaliers are currently 18-5, overall, and 9-3 in the ACC. Virginia is also 34th in the NET Rankings category. Needless to say, a victory would be a great addition to Pitt’s NCAA tournament resume when all is said and done.

The Panthers are trying to make back-to-back trips to the dance for the first time in a decade.

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