Pitt played pretty well on the road as an underdog to an NC State team needing a win for their NCAA Tournament hopes. But they ultimately ran out of gas for yet another loss, losing 77-73.
The Panthers (15-15) were led by Au’Diese Toney, who managed 24 points and six rebounds. Eric Hamilton led Pitt with nine boards to go along with his ten points. Xavier Johnson and his 13 points on 5-14 shooting, including a few questionable shots, was a decidedly mixed bag.
The good? Pitt did a lot right against NC State (18-11) on Saturday. They had one of their better shooting games against ACC competition, knocking down more than 47% of their shots. That included making 6-14 from three-point range and that would have been enough to win some other games.
But the Panthers also had 17 turnovers and collapsed down the stretch, going more than six minutes late in the game without a field goal.
Oh, and Pitt also struggled at the free throw line, making only 15-27 attempts there compared to NC State’s 20-27. Reverse those fortunes and, well, yeah. Every point counts. Every possession counts. Often, these games are decided by a handful of plays and that’s what makes knocking down free throws so important.
This was sort of frustrating to watch because, unlike some of the other games in this current six-game losing streak, the Panthers really did enough to win. That, I suppose, is the good news. If you’re Pitt, you were right there in a road game with a potential NCAA Tournament team that desperately needed a win. But you’ve got to play well in every phase and the turnovers combined with the free throws was too much to overcome. And at the end of the day, that type of competitiveness is of little consolation to a team that hasn’t won a game in three weeks.
Pitt wraps up the regular season with a road game on Wednesday against Georgia Tech.