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N.C. State holds off Pitt’s 2nd-half rally, 65-62

RALEIGH (AP) — DJ Funderburk dunked after a Cam Hayes steal to slow down a Pitt rally and swing some late momentum back to N.C. State on Sunday in a 65-62 Wolfpack victory.

The win marks a season sweep of Pitt and is N.C. State’s fourth in as row in the Atlantic Coast Conference, its first four-game streak since Feb. 14-25, 2018.

Funderburk finished with 13 points in the balanced N.C. State (12-9, 8-8) offense that saw eight players score and four reach double figures. Jericole Hellems notched his second double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Braxton Beverly added 14 points, making 8 of 9 at the free-throw line, and Manny Bates added 10 points and six blocked shots.

Bates stifled Pitt’s rally with blocks on consecutive late-game possessions, scoring after the first block for good measure. His basket pushing the Wolfpack lead back to 60-55 with 4:01 left.

The Panthers (9-10, 5-9) had come within three five times after trailing by 14 early in the second half.

Justin Champagnie made his presence felt about six minutes into the second half, throwing down a dunk, making four straight free throws with the six unanswered points pulling Pitt to 45-37.

The Panthers scored twice more after an N.C. State basket and it was 52-49 after an 18-7 run by Pitt.

That’s when Funderburk threw down with a two-handed dunk at the 8:12 mark and the Wolfpack kept Pitt at bay the rest of the way.

Champagnie scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half and pulled down 12 rebounds for his twelfth double-double. Femi Odukale scored 18 with five assists and Terrell Brown scored 11 with 11 rebounds. Nike Sibande scored nine, but was 1-of-4 shooting in the second half.

N.C. State scored 23 points off 14 Pitt turnovers and was 24 of 34 at the line.

Pitt was playing a new lineup after Au’Diese Toney and Xavier Johnson left the team early in the week to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Pitt closes the regular season next week, hosting Wake Forest on Tuesday and traveling to Clemson on Saturday. The Wolfpack travel to Notre Dame on Wednesday and host No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

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