The North Carolina men’s basketball team (15-7, 7-4 ACC) fell to Pittsburgh (16-7, 9-3 ACC), 65-64, Wednesday night in the Dean E. Smith Center.
Both teams were slow out of the gates, with the game remaining scoreless for the first two minutes. The Panthers were the first to put points on the board with a step-back jumper from the corner of the court. UNC was quick to respond, with a 3-pointer from graduate forward Pete Nance to give the Tar Heels a 1-point advantage.
From there, North Carolina was able to take control of the game, largely due to the strong shooting performance of junior guard Caleb Love, who was able to sink two three-pointers and gain an and-one within the first few minutes of the half. By the 10-minute mark, UNC was leading 19-13.
The Panthers made a strong push late in the first half, capitalizing off of Love missing three shots in a row, and a strong shooting performance to get back within one point by the third media time-out.
The Tar Heels were able to get back into the game after senior forward Armando Bacot scored his first points with five minutes remaining in the period. He then went on to score in the next three consecutive possessions, allowing UNC to regain the lead 28-26. The half ended with a made jumper by the Panthers to put them ahead 34-33.
Pittsburgh quickly extended its lead at the beginning of the second half, scoring two layups within the opening minutes to gain a 5-point lead — its biggest of the game. North Carolina fought back and retook the lead at the 16-minute mark off of a drive to the basket by junior Guard RJ Davis.
Three consecutive three-pointers off the hands of Pittsburgh guard Nelly Cummings placed the Panthers ahead once again, however, leading 53-48 with 10 minutes remaining. North Carolina's struggles were exacerbated by an early 4 fouls from graduate forward Leaky Black, which took him out of the game for the majority of the second period.
Despite this, UNC once again rallied back to tie the game 61-61 with just under four minutes on the clock. The Panthers were able to hang on, however, to ultimately gain a one-point victory.