The NC State Wolfpack extended their winning streak to four games completing the season sweep over Pittsburgh in the process as the Wolfpack staved off a late run from the Panthers as they picked up a 65-62 ACC victory Sunday afternoon inside PNC Arena.
With the win, NC State improves to 12-9 overall and 8-8 in ACC play while Pitt dropped its fifth straight contest falling to 9-10 overall and 5-9 in the ACC.
Both teams felt each other out during the opening minutes as the score was tied at 4-4 with 17:37 left in the opening half. Neither team could pull away from the other as NC State held a slim 12-11 lead at the 12:46 mark.
A fast-break dunk from redshirt freshman Dereon Seabron gave the Wolfpack a 17-11 lead with the assist credited to fellow freshman Shakeel Moore with 9:47 on the clock.
Cole Hellems added a jumper inside the paint to extend the Wolfpack lead to 19-13 with 8:30 remaining in the half. Hellems followed with a three-pointer after a Pitt turnover to put NC State ahead 22-13 at the next media timeout.
The NC State lead grew to 11 at 25-14 with two free throws from Moore. The Wolfpack were able to keep their lead around double digits at 29-19 with just under two minutes remaining before heading into the locker room leading 31-21.
Pitt started the second on a tear as they trimmed the Wolfpack lead to 33-28 in the first four minutes in the half. A DJ Funderburk ended the Panthers run to make the score 35-29 in favor of NC State. Braxton Beverly answered with a key three-point basket to push the NC State lead back to nine.
Beverly followed with a four-point play as he was fouled connecting on another three to give the Wolfpack a 45-31 lead. The Panther would claw back into the game forcing an NC State timeout with 11:38 remaining as the Wolfpack lead stood at 47-41.
Funderburk answered a Pitt basket with a dunk to extend the Wolfpack lead to 52-44 briefly before another Panthers basket again cut the NC State lead to just three at 52-49. Rinse and repeat as another Funderburk dunk ended the Panthers spurt to make the Wolfpack lead 54-49.
Once again Pitt proceeded to cut their deficit to three at 56-53 with just under six minutes remaining in regulation. Manny Bates followed with big plays on both ends as his fifth blocked shot led to a shot inside the free-throw line to make the score 60-55 at the final media timeout of the game.
With 1:40 left in the game, Funderburk came up empty at the free-throw line and fouled out of the contest with 1:15 remaining sending Pitt to the line for two. The Panthers followed suit missing two leaning the score at 60-56. As he did in the Wolfpack’s last victory, freshman Cam Hayes headed to the line with under a minute left and was successful on both attempts pushing the NC State lead to 62-56.
The Panthers came up empty on the offensive end fouling sending the Wolfpack back to the charity stripe. Hayes split a pair on this trip. Pitt added a quick basket and fouled quickly. After two more misses from NC State, Pitt added two more free throws making the score 63-60 with 13.3 left. The Wolfpack iced the game at the line the next trip down making a buzzer-beating shot from Pitt undamaging as NC State closed out their fourth straight win.
Hellems led four NC State players in double figures with 15 points and also 10 rebounds followed by 14 and 13 from Beverly and Funderburk. Bates added 10 points, 6 blocks. Femi Odukale paced the Panthers with 18 points with leading scorer Justin Champagnie following with a 15 point, 12 rebound double-double.
NC State returns to the court Wednesday as they head back on the road to face Notre Dame. Tipoff 7 PM.