Trio leads Panthers in rally past Wake Forest

Pitt’s top three scorers led the Panthers’ second-half rally past visiting Wake Forest, 77-72, in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Wednesday night.

Panthers freshman Carlton Carrington scored a game-high 24 points and added five rebounds and four assists, while Ishmael Leggett contributed 22 points and five boards, and Blake Hinson had 17 points for Pitt (13-8, 4-6 ACC).

For the Demon Deacons, Hunter Sallis totaled 22 points, six rebounds and three assists. Efton Reid III (14 points), Kevin Miller (11) and Andrew Carr (10) also scored in double figures for Wake Forest. Reid added 10 rebounds, five of them on the offensive end.

The Demon Deacons (13-7, 5-4) sat on a 10-point cushion at the midway point and climbed ahead by as much as a dozen shortly out of the break. Behind the efforts of Carrington, Leggett and Hinson, however, Pitt wouldn’t go away.

The Panthers tied the contest at 49 on Carrington’s 3-pointer with 10:36 to play. Reid got the lead back on the other end, but a Leggett trey 2:18 later tied the game at 53 and a Carrington trip to the foul line knotted it again at 55.

Carrington gave his side a 57-55 edge — its first lead of the night — on two free throws with 6:58 left. Sallis tied the game again at 57, but Leggett then knocked a shot down from beyond the arc, made a layup, and Carrington hit a jumper on a 7-0 run that forced the visitors into a timeout.

From the 16:10 mark of the second half until the end of the aforementioned surge, Carrington and Leggett combined for 25 of Pitt’s 31 points. Hinson accounted for the other six.

The Panthers’ advantage peaked at 10 points after Hinson’s three-point play with 1:20 remaining.

Pitt’s win was its first Atlantic Coast Conference home win of the year. It had lost four straight such games to begin league play for its worst start since it went winless in league competition in 2017-18.