Devon Daniels scored 23 points and North Carolina State used a strong second half to pull away from Pittsburgh in a 73-58 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament’s second round Wednesday afternoon in Greensboro, N.C.
The outcome is a big boost in the Wolfpack’s bid for an NCAA Tournament bid. The team has been considered to be on the NCAA bubble.
NC State (20-12) meets fourth-seeded Duke, which is ranked No. 10 nationally, in Thursday afternoon’s quarterfinals.
The Wolfpack has won three of its past four games.
C.J. Bryce added 13 points and 10 rebounds, while NC State teammates DJ Funderburk and Braxton Beverly each had 10 points.
Xavier Johnson’s 15 points led Pittsburgh, while Trey McGowens had 12 points and Justin Champagnie finished with nine points (all in the first half) for Pittsburgh.
The Panthers (16-17) were hurt by making only four of 18 shots from 3-point range. Overall, they shot 35.0 percent from the field and were credited with only six assists.
NC State was 4-for-16 from long range, with two of the connections by Beverly.
It’s NC State’s second late-season victory against the Panthers after winning a Feb. 29 game at home.
Bryce scored seven points in barely more than a two-minute span in the second half as the Wolfpack stretched its lead to 53-42.
In the first half, NC State went up 31-21 but Pittsburgh answered with a 9-0 run. The Wolfpack led 35-32 at halftime.
By then, Daniels had shot 6-for-7 from the field and the rest of the NC State team was a combined 8-for-23.
NC State center Manny Bates, the league leader in blocked shots, was back in action after missing last week’s regular-season finale with a knee injury. He came off the bench for the tournament game, blocking one shot and grabbing four rebounds in limited action.
Champagnie scored a season-high 31 points in Tuesday’s first-round victory against Wake Forest. That marked Pittsburgh’s lone victory in its final nine games.
—Field Level Media