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Pitt bullied by Wake Forest 91-75 in Winston-Salem

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 05 Pitt at Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pitt headed down to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem on Wednesday night to take on Wake Forest in an ACC tilt. The Panthers came into the matchup as 12.5-point underdogs, but the oddsmakers proved to be overly optimistic from Pitt’s standpoint, as the Demon Deacons pummeled the Panthers thoroughly, winning 91-75.

The dominance of Wake Forest was on display early, as the Demon Deacons simply could not miss from beyond the arc and made the most out of just about every trip down the floor during the first five minutes of the game. Meanwhile, the Panthers were only able to score about once every two minutes, and as a result, they found themselves trailing the Deacons 19-6 after a made three-pointer by Jake LaRavia at the 14:52 mark.

With that bucket by LaRavia, the Deacons improved to 5-for-5 on three-pointers, and while their accuracy would eventually wane, they would use long-range shots to distance themselves from the Panthers all night long. Meanwhile, Pitt was eventually able to fight its way back into the game around the midway point of the first half, as a concerted effort by Femi Odukale saw the Panthers cut the Deacons’ lead to down to seven points.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Deacons would then go on a 23-8 run and pull away from them, making the score at halftime 46-24. Odukale was Pitt’s only standout in the opening half, as he led all scorers with 11 points off the bench. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ starters contributed just 10 points to the total, and six of those came from Mouhamadou Gueye.

Pitt allowed the second half spin out of control as quickly as the first, as Wake Forest continued to knock down threes and pulled out to a 54-30 lead less than three minutes into the final frame. The Panthers would cut into the 24-point deficit as the game wore on, and Odukale would even posterize LaRavia at the 13:21 mark to make it 61-42. But by the midway point of the second half, the Deacons’ lead had bloated to 22 points, with the score 68-46.

From that point on, Wake Forest would continue to keep Pittsburgh at arm’s length, as both teams added to their scores but the deficit hovered between 10 and 20 points. And when all was said and done, the Panthers had fallen to the Deacons, with the final score 91-75.

Despite the adverse outcome, several Pitt players put on admirable performances in the loss. Femi Odukale finished as Pitt’s top scorer, with 23 points. John Hugley posted a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double. And Jamarius Burton scored 10 points to extend his double-figure scoring streak to 15 games.

With the loss, Pitt fell to 8-14 on the season and 3-8 in conference competition. Meanwhile, Wake Forest improved to 18-5 overall and 8-4 in ACC play. Now, having lost four of its last five games, Pitt will look to right the ship when it heads home to face Virginia Tech at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday.