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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jared Wilson-Frame scored 20 points and five Pitt players scored in double digits as the Panthers battled past Central Arkansas 97-71 in a physical matchup Thursday night.
Wilson-Frame has passed the 20-point barrier in each of his three games this season. As usual, he did most of his damage from beyond the arc, shooting 4 of 8 from 3-point range. He’s shooting 55.6 percent from long range on the season.
Freshman wing Au’Diese Toney set a career high with 15 points. Fellow freshmen Xavier Johnson (12) and Trey McGowens (11) also finished in double digits. Malik Ellison had 13 points.
The teams combined for 42 personal fouls, with many of them sending a player sprawling to the floor. Johnson was whistled for a technical in the first half.
The Panthers (4-0) did a better job taking advantage, getting to the free-throw line for 35 attempts and hitting 26 of them. Central Arkansas (2-2) made just nine of their 13 from the stripe.
Thatch Unruh led the way for the Bears with 15 points, all of which came in the first half.
He had 12 points in the first five minutes as Central Arkansas jumped out to a 17-8 lead. Pitt responded with a 16-2 run and never trailed the rest of the way.
Central Arkansas: The Bears will get a couple more shots against major conference opponents after a 13-point loss to Missouri and Thursday’s loss to the Panthers. The Bears visit Louisville on Dec. 5 and Indiana on Dec. 19.
Pitt: Wilson-Frame continues to be the Panthers’ most prolific scorer and is doing it in a sixth-man role. His 20 points actually decreased his season average to 21.3, but that’s still 7.0 more than second-leading scorer Johnson.
Central Arkansas: Visits Troy on Sunday. The Bears’ first five games against Division I opponents this season will come on the road.
Pitt: Finishes its five-game, season-opening homestand against North Alabama on Saturday.
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