The Pittsburgh Panthers travelled to Winston Salem on Tuesday night to try to get their first conference road win since 2017 against Wake Forest. If there was ever a game to break the 16 game losing streak on the road, it was this as Wake sat last in the ACC standings at tip-off.
Pitt started off strong as they tore through Wake’s man to man defense to build an eight-to-zero lead in the opening minute and a half. Wake coach Danny Manning then switched into a zone which gave Pitt fits for the remainder of the half. Despite the troubles, Pitt held their lead until under a minute left in the half when Brandon Childress drained a triple with 48 seconds left. After an offensive foul with five seconds left, Xavier Johnson drove the entire court and drained a deep teardrop that beat the buzzer which allowed Pitt to enter the half with a two point lead. Overall it was a very sloppy first half that saw both teams shoot below 35%. Jared Wilson-Frame led Pitt with nine points, while Johnson finished with seven points along with five rebounds and four assists. Trey McGowens continued his struggles as he had zero points in the first half after playing only five minutes.
The second half was defined by a series of runs. Wake went up first by scoring seven before Pitt got on the board. After the second TV timeout, Johnson went off as he drained a triple, got a steal, dished an assist to McGowens, then made an acrobatic layup to put Pitt up five. Immediately after this Danny Manning called a timeout, which completely changed the momentum as Wake put together a 15-2 run, followed by another seven-to-zero run by Pitt to make it a one point game with three minutes left. Sidy N’Dir stepped up in McGowens’ absence, scoring seven points in the last five minutes and coming up with a crucial steal with 24 seconds left. Following the steal, Pitt had the ball up two, but couldn’t convert at the line as Johnson missed the front end of a one and one. On the ensuing possession mayhew ensued as Wake got three offensive rebounds and missed all four shots, leading to an inbound play where Wake tossed up a three pointer that would have been an airball and Pitt win if Kene Chukwuka hadn’t forgotten his assignment and let Jaylen Hoard catch the shot and lay it in to send the game to overtime.
In overtime no one team pulled away, but Wake made the right shot in the right moment as they hit a triple to go up three with 35 second left. Pitt couldn’t come back from this as Wake, unlike Pitt, hit clutch free throws and iced the game to make the Panthers losers of six straight. Overall, Johnson was the player of the game for Pitt as he finished with a 23/6/9 score sheet, but will regret his missed free throw that allowed Wake to get their second conference win.