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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) drives to the basket during Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in the Petersen Events Center.
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

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Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) drives to the basket during Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in the Petersen Events Center.
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

Jaland Lowe leads Pitt to win over NC State

Sophomore+forward+Guillermo+Diaz+Graham+%2825%29+shoots+during+a+game+against+Notre+Dame+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center+on+Saturday.
Bronco York | Staff Photographer
Sophomore forward Guillermo Diaz Graham (25) shoots during a game against Notre Dame at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday.

Pitt men’s basketball (15-8, ACC 6-6) traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on the ACC rival NC State (15-8 (7-5)), looking to increase its winning streak. Each team headed into the night hoping to secure a crucial win to strengthen its resume with a month to go before the NCAA tournament. The two teams came into the game on win streaks, with Pitt winning four of its last five. 

The Panthers ultimately extended their win streak, outlasting the Wolfpack to take home a 67-64 victory.

NC State opened the scoring with a hook shot inside from senior forward D.J. Burns. The Wolfpack set a precedent from the start, as they hounded Pitt in an early full-court press. This defensive strategy lasted throughout most of the game and kept the contest close.

Senior forward Blake Hinson put the Panthers on the board after securing an offensive rebound and knocking down a catch-and-shoot triple. The two teams battled back and forth for a few possessions, with each side trying to break away.

With the Panthers in need of a spark, first-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington dashed down the court to break NC State’s press and deliver a momentum-shifting slam-dunk. Carrington, the second-highest-scoring rookie in the ACC, continued his dominant season with a stellar 8-point first-half performance.

Hinson and first-year guard Jaland Lowe worked together to give Pitt a nine-point lead, forcing an NC State timeout. With 10 minutes to go in the half, the Panthers pushed the lead to 11 — their largest of the period.

But junior forward Ben Middlebrooks would not let the Wolfpack fall behind this early, as he found the bottom of the net on multiple shots in the paint, and acted as an important defensive presence on the other end. This method of scoring was crucial for NC State in the first half and would become an important trend heading late into the game.

Senior guard D.J. Horne dropped back-to-back triples to cut Panther’s lead to three. Hinson gave Pitt a much-needed jumper. But after a Burns floater and another Horne three-pointer, NC State tied the game with under four minutes to play in the half.

Coming out of the timeout, Hinson and Lowe traded threes, putting the Panthers up six with just under two minutes to go. 

Lowe finished the final 30 seconds of the half strong, as he froze his defender for an easy finish. The first-year guard then stole the ball moments later to add to Pitt’s 8-0 run and give the Panthers a 38-30 lead heading into the locker room. 

Lowe came out of the break hot with a floater and and-one finish to put the Panthers up 13 early in the second half. 

A Carrington and-one chance was then called off for a controversial offensive foul, giving the first-year guard his third foul of the game. This left head coach Jeff Capel visibly infuriated, as he was left with no choice but to send his star to the bench.

With the second half ticking away, Horne and Burns took over for NC State as Pitt went cold. Horne was not shy to let it fly, as he knocked down shot after shot. His hot hand gave Wolfpack fans something to love with just a week out from Valentine’s Day.

Two Burns layups and an NC State three-pointer tied the game at 56 with 7:37 left. NC State then found its first lead since the opening minutes from another Burns finish under the basket. Burns ended the game with 19 points.

Hinson and junior guard Ishmael Leggett put the Panthers back on top. But the Wolfpack kept knocking at the door with a tough shot from Horne, giving him 23 on the night and tying the contest.

Fouls and free throws filled up the waning time with Pitt ultimately going up by one with a minute to go. 

Out of a timeout, the Wolfpack looked to a reliable Burns, but Pitt was ready. Hinson came in clutch defensively for the Panthers and shut down any efforts of an NC State comeback.

With Pitt up one and just 5.7 seconds to play, game-changer Lowe went to the line for a chance to push Pitt up by three. The first-year up-and-comer showed the ice in his veins, knocking down the clutch pair, giving him a season-high and team-leading 20 points. As a team, the Panthers shot a near-perfect 90 percent from the stripe tonight.

As the remaining seconds ticked off, Pitt was able to come away with a huge road win in North Carolina. The Panthers look to lengthen their win streak next Tuesday in Virginia as they take on the (18-5, ACC9-3) Cavaliers on the ACC Network.

About the Contributor
Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer
Aidan Kasner is a first-year student studying Media and Professional Communications.