Wolfpack Falls to Pittsburgh in ACC Opener
Jan. 4, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State men's basketball team opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 74-62 loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena.
Wolfpack sophomore forward T.J. Warren scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, while junior guard Ralston Turner scored 11 points off the bench for State (10-4, 0-1 ACC).
"I thought it was a disappointing day," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "In the second half, they were tougher than us. They got after loose balls, they pushed the ball on the break and we did not respond. In the first half we played well. We got off to a great start and did a lot of everything well. In the second half, we came out and had very little energy. Our young guys better learn at this level if you do that, you are going to see the results like you saw today. It's real simple, we have to be a lot tougher than we were today."
The Wolfpack started out very strong versus the Panthers, opening the game on a 17-2 run to take the early lead. After both teams traded baskets to start the contest, State reeled off 15 straight points as Pittsburgh hit just of one of its first 10 shots. Warren scored nine of his 13 first half points during the stretch as the Wolfpack ran out to the big advantage.
From there the Panthers were able to cut into the State advantage, trimming the deficit to 21-17 at the 6:18 juncture before the Pack closed the half by outscoring Pitt 13-9 to take a 34-26 halftime lead.
Following intermission, the Panthers opened the second half with a 15-4 run, taking their first lead of the game at 41-38 on a three-point play by Cameron Wright at the 15:29 mark of the half. After a jumper by Warren quickly cut the margin to one, the Panthers scored six straight to increase the margin to 47-40, a lead they would not relinquish.
The Wolfpack cut the Pittsburgh advantage to six points on four different occasions down the stretch, but could not overcome the Panthers defensive pressure and was unable to regain the lead.
State connected on a season-high 93 percent of its free throws (14-15) in the loss, besting its previous mark of 86.7 percent set earlier in the year in a 76-66 win versus Long Beach State.
In its ACC debut, Pittsburgh (13-1, 1-0 ACC) was led by Lamar Patterson, who totaled 22 points on the day, and Talib Zanna who added 15 points and nine rebounds.
For its next game, NC State will play at Notre Dame on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.