Carrington Nets Career-High 20 Points as Panthers Fall to No. 8 North Carolina

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Bub Carrington drives past North Carolina's Cormac Ryan. Image Credit: Vince Butts/UMT

PITTSBURGH – Carlton Carrington led four Pitt double-figure scorers with a season-high 20 points, but it was not enough to overcome No. 8 North Carolina on a cold shooting night at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers shot a season-low 30.9 percent (21-of-68) from the field, including 5-of-29 (.172) from three-point range to offset a strong defensive effort of their own.

The Panthers held North Carolina to 17 points below its season scoring average as the Tar Heels went 23-of-63 (.365) from the field and 5-of-17 (.294) from three-point distance.

Blake Hinson scored 11 points but was just 4-of-16 from the field, while Guillermo Diaz Graham and Jaland Lowe each scored 10 points for the Panthers. Armando Bacot led North Carolina with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while RJ Davis scored 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field. Harrison Ingram had a strong game on the backboards with 15 rebounds and hit a dagger three late in the game to thwart a Pitt rally.

Pitt forced 10 consecutive misses from the field by the Tar Heels to open the game and jumped out to a 14-7 lead on a Guillermo Diaz Graham three with 11:37 left in the opening half. North Carolina countered with a 12-2 run as Pitt had an 0-of-12 shooting slump for itself and the visitors pulled ahead 24-20 on a desperation shot-blocking beating three from Seth Trimble.

Pitt settled in to make its final five shots of the half, tying the game at 28 on a spinning layup by Guillermo Diaz Graham with 24 seconds remaining. RJ Davis sank a buzzer-beating three to send the Tar Heels into the break with a 31-28 advantage.

Pitt shot just 35.3 percent (12-of-34) from the field in the opening half but used a scrappy defensive attack to hold North Carolina to just 11-of-35 (.314) shooting. Pitt held its own on the glass, being outrebounded just 23-22 despite a steady push on the backboards by the Tar Heels. North Carolina outscored the Panthers, 11-0, in second chance points to help pull ahead.

Davis hit a three to open the scoring in the second half and North Carolina had an answer for every Pitt charge. After falling behind 47-38 with 11:36 remaining Pitt cut it back to a two-possession game with a three by Carrington and a dunk and free throw by Guillermo Diaz Graham. Carolina went 4-of-4 from the line and got a putback dunk by Jae’Lyn Withers and fast break layup by Ingram to push the lead to double figures.

The Panthers scored the next four points to get back to a two-possession game before Ingram hit a three late in the shot clock to push the Tar Heels to a 60-51 lead with 4:10 remaining. Threes by Carrington and Hinson late in the contest were not enough as Bacot and Cormac Ryan combined to go 6-of-6 from the foul line and Bacot snuck out for dunks off the pressing Pitt defense.

With the loss, Pitt slips to 9-5 overall and 0-3 in the ACC. Two of the three losses came to Clemson and North Carolina teams that are currently ranked in the top 15 in the country. North Carolina is now 10-3 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.

20-PIECE FOR BUB

Carrington topped the 20-point mark for the first time in his career. The freshman guard has scored in double figures 12 times and is averaging 14.5 points per game and is the only freshman in the country averaging at least 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.

BATTLE ON THE GLASS

In one of the more physical matchups of the year, Pitt dropped the rebounding battle, 51-41, as Carolina was able to knock the Panthers off the ball on several occasions. Ishmael Leggett grabbed a Pitt-high eight rebounds, while Jorge Diaz Graham came off the bench for five rebounds (4 offensive boards). The Tar Heels also outscored Pitt, 15-1, in second chance points to offset a poor shooting effort.

JLOWE COMING ON

Lowe posted his second double-figure scoring game of the season finishing with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a steal. He played a season-high 24 minutes as Pitt utilized a three-guard lineup for long stretches for the first time this season.

UP NEXT

Pitt travels to Louisville to take on the Cardinals Saturday, Jan. 6 in a noon tipoff on The CW.

Source: Matt Plizga/Pitt Athletics