It has been stated that road victories in the Atlantic Coast Conference are difficult to achieve. Don’t tell this to Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers.
In their first game as a member of the ACC, the Pitt men’s basketball team traveled to Raleigh, N.C., for their first true road game of the season, and defeated the NC State Wolfpack 74-62 on Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena.
The Pitt Panthers were led by senior guard Lamar Patterson, who finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals, and senior forward Talib Zanna with 15 points. For NC State, sophomore forward T.J. Warren had a game-high 23 points, and guard Ralston Turner added 11 points.
In the beginning of the game, Pitt (13-1, 1-0 ACC) struggled mightily, falling into a 17-2 deficit against Warren and the Wolfpack. Freshmen Jamel Artis and Josh Newkirk helped dig Pitt out of the massive hole with eight combined points to cut the deficit to 21-15. Pitt trailed at halftime 34-26, and NC State (10-4, 0-1 ACC) was 9-1 when leading at the break.
The second half was decisive for the Panthers, as they went on a 24-8 run. Patterson and freshman forward Michael Young, who had a career-high 13 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half. Pitt then seized a 40-38 lead off of a Cameron Wright layup.
Pitt appeared to gain momentum as the second half continued, shooting 63 percent and scoring 26 of its 34 points in the paint. The Panthers never looked back after taking the lead, forcing NC State into an array of turnovers and taking over the game.
Pitt will square off against Maryland for its first ACC home opener at the Peterson Events Center at 7 p.m. Monday, whereas NC State will travel to face Notre Dame, which is another Big East newcomer to the ACC, on Tuesday.