PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ismael Massoud scored 14 points off the bench, Torry Johnson added 12 and Wake Forest clamped down on Pittsburgh late in a 69-65 victory on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons (8-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) held Pitt (10-4, 1-2) scoreless over the last 3:07 after Panther guard Trey McGowens hit a reverse layup to pull Pitt within 66-65.
The Panthers missed their last five shots, including a potential go-ahead 3-pointer by McGowens with 27 seconds left. McGowens also had a potential game-tying layup blocked by Wake Forest’s Olivier Sarr with less than one second to go. Brandon Childress drained two free throws for the Demon Deacons for the final margin.
Ryan Murphy led Pitt with 18 points and four assists. McGowens finished with 12 points and Xavier Johnson and Justin Champagnie added 11 points each for the Panthers but Pitt saw a three-game winning streak come to a crashing halt during a back-and-forth second half in a game that saw 11 ties and 10 lead changes.
Wake Forest went up 59-51 on a pair of free throws by Massoud with 7:33 to go before the Panthers responded. An Eric Hamilton layup capped an 8-0 run that tied it at 59 but the Demon Deacons hung around. A 3-pointer by Andrien White gave the Demon Deacons a 66-63 edge and Wake Forest’s defense made sure it was enough to hold on.
The Panthers raced to a 22-6 lead behind a sea of turnovers and missed shots by the Demon Deacons, coming off a 14-day layoff. Yet Pitt’s offensive flow slowed to a crawl, giving Wake Forest time to find its footing behind Chaundee Brown. The Panthers missed 14 of their last 17 shots to end the half and Wake Forest drew within 30-27 at the break, nearly tying it on a running heave by Childress at the buzzer that hit the front of the rim.
Wake Forest: In a pivotal season for head coach Danny Manning, the Demon Deacons gave their season a needed jolt after a wildly uneven nonconference slate that included losses to Boston College and Charlotte and a win over Xavier.
Pitt: The Panthers are eyeing taking another step forward in Jeff Capel’s second season. How far they climb after winning three conference games a year ago will depend largely on their ability to win the rock fights with teams in a similar position.
Wake Forest: Hosts Florida State on Wednesday. The Demon Deacons are 1-4 against the Seminoles under Manning.
Pitt: Visits North Carolina on Wednesday. The Panthers have dropped six straight to the Tar Heels.
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