Jared Wilson-Frame poured in 20 points off the bench to lead five Pittsburgh players in double figures as the Panthers shrugged off a slow start to roll to a 97-71 win over Central Arkansas on Thursday at the Peterson Events Center in a campus-round game of the Barclays Center Classic.
The Panthers led by 11 at halftime and slowly pulled away from Central Arkansas, expanding their advantage to 79-58 on a layup by Malik Ellison with 6:57 to play and building it down the stretch.
Pittsburgh made 26 of 35 free throws overall, while Central Arkansas had just 13 attempts, making nine.
Four of the Panthers’ five starters scored at least 11 points, but they all took a back seat on Thursday to Wilson-Frame, who is the first player in Pittsburgh history to score at least 20 points off the bench in three consecutive games.
Au’Diese Toney scored 15 for the Panthers (4-0), with Ellison adding 13, Xavier Johnson 12 and Trey McGowens 11 points.
Thatch Unruh led the Bears (2-2) with 15 points, all of them in the first half. Jared Chatham added 11 points, and Hayden Koval and Khaleem Bennett scored 10 each.
Central Arkansas scored the game’s first six points and led 17-8 after a 3-pointer by Unruh with 15:39 to play in the first half. The Panthers responded with an 11-2 run to tie the game at 19, moved ahead and took a 48-37 lead at halftime.
Wilson-Frame led the Panthers with 11 points in the first half while Toney rang up 10 for Pittsburgh, which led despite being outshot 46 percent to 41 percent.
Unruh hit 5 of 7 from the floor including 3 of 5 from 3-point territory in the first half. No other Bears’ player had more than six points in the half.
The Panthers return to the court on Saturday when they host Northern Alabama. Next up for Central Arkansas is a road game Sunday at Troy.
—Field Level Media