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Pitt handled by North Carolina State, 78-61

Pitt gets a wake up call in the worst way.

Please stop scoring.
Please stop scoring.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hoooooo boy.

That was a rough one to watch. This won't be a long (or very thoughtful) one as I don't quite care to think about this game too much.

The first half was essentially Pitt shooting itself in the foot horrible.

Shoot Me Again

Pitt fans in the first half, basically.

NC State was 0-5 in conference coming into the game, and came out in the first half like a bat out of hell. They shot well, and Pitt could not make anything from a layup to a jump shot. It was quite honestly the worst half I've seen Pitt play in my 7 years of being a Pitt fan.

Coming into the game, a ton of attention was thrown towards NC State freshman Maverick Rowan because of his colorful past with his recruitment and Pitt. He responded by making three 3's at the beginning of the game. He definitely fell away a bit as the night went on, turning the ball over and getting blocked on more than a few shots. Rowan had the last laugh, though, as he nailed a three with only a few seconds left in the game right in front of his family and the remaining Zoo members.

I gotta talk about Barber from NC State. He was really really good. He went for 31, shooting almost 50% from the field, and 14-14 from the free-throw line. He had a really fantastic Euro step at one point that you couldn't help but be impressed by. Combined with the inside presence of Abu (so many completely open dunks), NC State had the perfect inside-out balance to confuse Pitt's already bad defense.

To speak briefly on Pitt, the second half was actually pretty decent aside from Pitt just not being able to get over the hump. They cut the lead to as little as 11 at one point, but would give up a big rebound or foul at a bad time or something along those lines. Artis finished with 16 points, but was 4-10 from the field to go with five bad turnovers. Mike Young finished with 14, and had a decent night but 3 turnovers himself. He didn't play terribly, this was just a game Pitt really could have used a big game out of him. After the game, both were pretty distraught, Artis especially so. He mentioned NC State just being tougher several times. Jamie Dixon even called it a "bad loss" which I don't recall hearing him say before.

Pitt just lost what should have been a gimme game at home, which means their margin for error down the road (and on the road) just tightened up a significant amount. Hopefully it wakes the team up a bit. When this team gels, they are a very good team. When it doesn't gel though, it's an absolute train wreck. The good news is other teams in the conference towards the top have a number of losses as well. There was also the good news that Pitt's priority in the 2016 football recruiting class, 4* DB Damar Hamlin, showed up on his own to the game with Pitt commit Rashad Wheeler. He seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit, and eventually joined the Zoo to cheer on Pitt.