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PITTSBURGH (AP) – North Carolina State fell into a big hole, but climbed back out of it late to knock off Pitt, 72-68 on Wednesday.
The Wolfpack used an 11-0 run late in the second half to claw back into a game that Pitt had dominated. The Panthers missed six straight shots while NC State turned a double-digit deficit into a narrow lead late. Allerik Freeman made a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds to play to secure the victory.
Omer Yurtseven led the way for NC State with 16 points despite dealing with foul trouble for most of the night. He shot 6 of 7 from the floor.
NC State (14-7, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) started the game with a 17-6 lead, which prompted Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings to switch to a 2-3 zone defense. The change paid immediate dividends as Pitt went on an 18-3 run. The Pitt zone defense limited the Wolfpack to shooting 34 percent from the field (24 of 71), tied for its worst shooting performance of the season.
For Pitt, (8-13, 0-8 ACC) Jared Wilson-Frame shot 7 of 14 for a career-high 22 points. The Panthers used dribble penetration to get the Wolfpack defense moving and also got both starting NC State big men in early foul trouble.
Pitt had a halftime lead for the first time since Dec. 19 against Delaware State and had yet to have a double-digit lead at any point through seven ACC games.
NC State: The Wolpack victory will help them keep their heads above water in a deep middle of the pack in the ACC. Seven different teams entered play Wednesday with three conference wins. The top nine teams get a crucial bye in the ACC Tournament. NC State started the day 11th.
Pitt: The Panthers are still searching for their first ACC victory this season and have lost 12 straight ACC regular-season games, dating back to Feb. 18, 2017. The four-point loss was the first single-digit deficit for the Panthers in conference play this season.
NC State: Visits cross-town rival North Carolina on Saturday. The Wolfpack have lost their last four games against the No. 10 Tar Heels by an average margin of 24.8 points.
Pitt: Remains home to host Syracuse on Saturday. The Panthers have won 9 of 11 against the Orange since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002.
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