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NC State rallies past Pittsburgh for 79-74 victory

Had to have it.

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State snapped its losing skid against Pittsburgh Tuesday night, rallying from a seven-point deficit to capture a 79-74 win. Terry Henderson and Maverick Rowan led the charge by scoring 21 points apiece, and the duo was a combined 10-19 from beyond the arc.

The Wolfpack got off to a solid start in this one, opening up an eight-point lead on the Panthers early, but the game was destined to be a back-and-forth affair. Pittsburgh used a 13-4 run in the middle of the second half to turn a two-point deficit in to a seven-point lead, at which point all the wearying thoughts about State’s shortcomings came flying through the door.

On this night at least, another setback fueled by poor defense was not to be. Pittsburgh scored only five points over the final eight minutes to aid the cause. Terry Henderson scored five straight points after State fell behind 69-62, Maverick Rowan hit a key triple down the stretch, and Pack did just enough at the free throw line in the final couple of minutes to salt it away, despite a tenuous moment late.

Both teams shot well from three-point range and with free throws and turnovers basically a wash, the big key in this one was NC State’s superior rebounding. The Pack grabbed grabbed 42.9% of its missed shots while limiting the Panthers to only six offensive rebounds total (an 18.8 OR% for Pitt). That proved a decisive edge.

This is a start for the Pack, though still not exactly a sparkling display of defense, and now they’ve got another must win-situation coming up against Wake Forest this weekend.