Jericole Hellems scored 15 points and reserve Braxton Beverly tacked on 14 Sunday afternoon as North Carolina State stretched its winning streak to four games by defeating visiting Pittsburgh 65-62 in Raleigh, N.C.
D.J. Funderburk posted 13 points before fouling out, and Manny Bates had 10 points and six blocked shots for the Wolfpack (12-9, 8-8 Atlantic Coast Conference), building on its upset win at No. 15 Virginia and making a late push for a postseason bid. It is NC State's longest conference winning streak since February 2018.
Suddenly short-handed Pittsburgh (9-10, 5-9) suffered its fifth consecutive loss and its eighth setback in the last nine games.
Femi Odukale scored 18 points for Pitt, while ACC scoring leader Justin Champagnie had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Terrell Brown provided 11 points and 11 rebounds.
It was the 12th consecutive time NC State has beaten the Panthers, including a 74-73 decision in Pittsburgh on Feb. 17.
Pittsburgh is a team in transition, with Xavier Johnson and Au'Diese Toney announcing during the past week that they're transferring. They were the team's second- and third-leading scorers at 14.4 and 14.2 points per game, respectively. They both ranked in the top 16 in ACC scoring.
So Sunday marked the first game without Johnson, while Toney, the team's No. 2 rebounder, missed the Panthers' previous game because of an undisclosed injury.
NC State built a 45-31 lead early in the second half, but the Panthers didn't fold. Pittsburgh scrambled back to within three several times in the last 10 minutes, but the Wolfpack held on.
After two missed free throws by Pittsburgh, Cam Hayes made two free throws to push the Wolfpack's lead to 62-56 with 54 seconds remainnig.
Pittsburgh owned a big edge on the boards with a 45-31 rebounding margin.
--Field Level Media