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Pitt loses big lead in road loss at Wake Forest

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John Collins tipped in a rebound with 18.8 seconds left, and Wake Forest staged its biggest comeback in 18 years, rallying from 19 points down to beat Pittsburgh 63-59 on Wednesday night.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-12) rallied back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Pitt Panthers (15-13) by a final score of 63-59.

Pitt leading scorer Michael Young - who leads the ACC with 20.2 points this season - drained a 3-pointer from deep on an assist from Jamel Artis. Just 30 seconds later on the next possession, Artis followed up with a 3-pointer of his own, giving Pitt the early 6-0 lead.

The Deacons found their groove and were able to stay with the Panthers throughout the first ten minutes of play. Pitt began to edge ahead taking the lead 36-17 with 2:17 left in the first half. The Deacons, however, would go on a 7-0 run of their own to head into the locker room down 36-24 giving them a little bit of momentum heading into the second half.

As the second half began, Pitt continued with their lead over the Deacons. At the 8:21 mark, sophomore forward John Collins scored on a fast break layup to cut the lead to only five. Collins continued to attack the net, drawing a crucial foul with 3:53 left in the game. After sinking both free throws, the Deacons could smell a comeback was near as they trailed 55-53.

Artis, who finished the game with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist, sank a pair of free throws 30 seconds later for Pitt. But, in the next possession for the Deacons, Bryan Crawford found Austin Arians for a clutch 3-pointer to keep them within one. After a Pitt timeout and a missed 3-point attempt, the Deacons took advantage and tied the game up on a free throw from Brandon Childress. Both teams were decent on the night in free throw percentage as Pitt finished with 71.4% and Wake Forest 64%.

With the game tied up with only 1:37 left, Collins was not to be denied as he drove to the basket and scored on another layup giving the Deacons their first lead of the game. The Panthers' Sheldon Jeter tied the game back up at 59 with only 1:06 left. Collins battled hard down low in the paint as he scored on a put back rebound to give the Deacons the 61-59 lead with 18 seconds left.

After a Wake Forest timeout, Pitt was unable to hit the 3-point shot by Young and turned over the ball over on an inbound with just 5.6 seconds left. Another free throw for the Deacons finalized the score 63-59, tying a school record comeback for the Deacons.

Both teams struggled from behind the arc as Pitt finished 30.4% and Wake Forest 20%. The Deacons out bodied the Panthers with 48 total rebounds to 37. Collins, who has been the leading scorer for the Deacons the past seven games in a row, totaling 534 points in 28 games so far this season, was once again the leading scorer finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds. On the other end, Young finished the game as Pitt’s leading scorer with 24 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist on the night.

The Panthers will have to regroup as they host 8th ranked North Carolina, Saturday, Feb. 25 at 12:00 p.m.

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