Luke Maye scored 26 points as No. 19 North Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating visiting Pittsburgh 96-65 on Saturday night in Atlantic Coast Conference play at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina guard Cameron Johnson, a graduate transfer from Pittsburgh, scored 14 points against his former team.
Kenny Williams racked up 15 points and Joel Berry II added 12 points for North Carolina (17-7, 6-5 ACC). Sterling Manley and Garrison Brooks both scored 10 points.
The Tar Heels cranked up their perimeter shooting, making 11 of 27 shots from 3-point range.
Marcus Carr’s 22 points, Jared Wilson-Frame’s 15 points and Terrell Brown’s 14 points paced last-place Pittsburgh (8-16, 0-11), which lost its 11th game in a row.
A North Carolina loss would have stuck the Tar Heels with their first four-game losing streak since 2010.
The Tar Heels shot 51.4 percent from the field and they held a 47-30 rebounding advantage, led by Theo Pinson’s 13 boards.
North Carolina hit three 3-pointers in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half to create a 56-37 gap.
The Panthers hit seven 3-pointers in slightly more than 16 minutes to begin the game against North Carolina, which surrendered 15 baskets from 3-point range in each of its past two games.
Johnson’s 3-pointer gave the Tar Heels a 34-32 lead. He followed that with a fast-break three-point play and then a lay-in following a loose ball, giving the Tar Heels a 39-32 lead with 2:11 remaining in the first half.
The Tar Heels owned a 45-35 halftime lead.
North Carolina, which receives a visit from rival Duke on Thursday night, shot 50 percent from the field in the first half. Pittsburgh had 10 turnovers by the break.
This margin of defeat was larger than the last three Pittsburgh losses combined. The Panthers finished with 10 3-point baskets on 30 attempts.
--Field Level Media