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Pitt

Pitt's skid reaches program-worst 11 games with blowout at North Carolina

| Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, 10:59 p.m.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Luke Maye scored 26 points to help the 19th-ranked North Carolina beat Pitt, 96-65, on Saturday night, ending their first three-game losing streak in four years.

“Our guys around here, you lose a couple and the kids start feeling the pressure because they're such good kids,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.

The response was a positive, if for no other reason than the Tar Heels (17-7, 6-5 ACC) had a relatively stress-free night while matching their best scoring output in league play.

Freshman Marcus Carr scored 22 points for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11), who hit eight first-half 3s to hang around but made 2 of 16 after halftime as the Tar Heels' lead ballooned.

That sent Pitt to its 11th straight loss, the longest skid in program history.

“They played well obviously,” Panthers coach Kevin Stallings said. “I didn't think that we did so much, but certainly you have to give them credit. It probably wasn't the most ideal time to catch them.”

Things keep getting worse for the Panthers. They entered Chapel Hill ranked last in the league in major categories such as scoring offense, shooting percentage, rebounding margin and turnover margin. Now they've lost 15 straight regular-season ACC games and are approaching a year since their last win.

“Maybe I'll feel a little differently when I see the film,” Stallings said. “But I think we can play better than that.”

Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson scored eight points against his former team in UNC's 14-3 half-ending flurry, which grew to 25-5 when Joel Berry II hit his fourth 3-pointer for a 56-37 lead with 16:48 left.

Pitt initially blocked Johnson's attempt to move to UNC with immediate eligibility, citing an internal policy, before relenting last summer. He finished with 14 points.

“I tried not to look at this game any different, you know what I mean?” Johnson said. “Obviously you're going to feel some things when you play against your former team. I spent three years there, I grew up in Pittsburgh, my dad played at Pitt, my mom went to nursing school there, and my brother is still doing research for the university, so obviously I have a pretty strong connection there.”

Stallings deflected questions afterward about Johnson.

“I don't like to comment on other people's players,” he said. “Ask Roy about how he played. I couldn't tell you. I was worried about my guys.”

The Panthers visit No. 20 Clemson on Thursday.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 03:  Jared Wilson-Frame #0 of the Pittsburgh Panthers loses the ball as he drives against Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 3, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Getty Images
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 03: Jared Wilson-Frame #0 of the Pittsburgh Panthers loses the ball as he drives against Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 3, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Pitt's Marcus Carr chases the ball with North Carolina's Kenny Williams and Joel Berry II, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Pitt's Marcus Carr chases the ball with North Carolina's Kenny Williams and Joel Berry II, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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