Miller-McIntyre leads Wake Forest over Pittsburgh 69-66
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) After suffering one of its worst losses in school history four days ago, Wake Forest needed a win to regain some self-respect.
Thanks to Codi Miller-McIntyre, the Deacons came up with one of their biggest wins of the season.
Miller-McIntyre scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, and Wake Forest rallied in the final five minutes to stun Pittsburgh 69-66 on Sunday.
Mitchell Wilbekin added 14 points, including 12 first-half points on four 3-pointers, and Cornelius Hudson had 11 for the Deacons (13-16, 5-11 ACC), who rallied from a seven-point deficit to snap a three-game losing streak.
Wake Forest's last loss was among its most humiliating - 70-34 to No. 2 Virginia at home on Feb. 25, just 11 days after nearly beating the Cavaliers on their home court.
''We needed to win,'' Miller-McIntyre said. ''We didn't play our best game against Virginia, and the way to get that taste out of our mouth was to play the way we did tonight.
''We needed this to get some momentum, to get a little streak going heading into the (ACC) tournament.''
Down 60-53, Miller-McIntyre scored seven points during a 10-1 run that put the Deacons back in the lead for the first time since holding a 37-35 margin at the halftime break.
His steal and jumper with 3:32 left tied the game at 61-61, then Miller-McIntyre came up with another steal to set up Dinos Mitoglou's 3-pointer with 2:39 left that put Wake Forest ahead to stay.
The Panthers (19-11, 8-8) pulled within 64-63 on two free throws by James Robinson with 2:28 remaining, but Hudson and Miller-McIntyre combined to make 5 of 6 from the free-throw line over the final minute.
''We got some timely stops, and we made some timely shots as well,'' Deacons coach Danny Manning said.
''We've got two more games to get prepared for the ACC tournament. We have to use this as momentum, and build upon this and have it carry over into the games.''
Michael Young scored 22 points for Pittsburgh, which outrebounded Wake Forest 43-28, including a 17-5 advantage on offensive boards. Jamel Artis added 19 points and Cameron Wright 11.
Behind Wilbekin, who made just 6 of 23 3-pointers over six February games, Wake Forest pulled ahead early, leading by as many as nine points in the first half.
The Deacons' biggest lead came on Wilbekin's third 3-pointer of the half, putting them ahead 24-15 with 8:59 remaining. His final 3-pointer, with 5:19 left, staked Wake Forest to a 27-21 lead.
However, the Panthers managed to fight back, cutting the Deacons' lead to two points five times over the final 5 minutes. The last came when Young nailed a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining, pulling Pittsburgh within 37-35.
The Panthers then appeared to take control of the game in the second half, opening with a 17-6 run. Artis capped the run on a short jumper with 12:53 left, giving Pittsburgh a 52-43 lead, its biggest of the game.
''We fought back from a slow start, and put ourselves in position to win the game,'' Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. ''We just didn't get it done.''
Pittsburgh: The Panthers fell short of giving coach Jamie Dixon his 12th consecutive 20-win season in losing to Wake Forest for the first time in school history. Pittsburgh has two more chances in the regular season to reach that goal - against Miami at home on Wednesday, and at Florida State on Saturday.
Wake Forest: Devin Thomas, who finished with six points, became the 51st player in Deacons history and the second this season to reach 1,000 career points. The 6-foot-9 junior entered Sunday's game just two points shy of the mark, and reached it with a layup with 16:01 left in the first half.
Pittsburgh's rebounding advantage, especially on the offensive glass, gave the Panthers an 18-8 edge in second-chance points against Wake Forest. However, the Deacons countered that with their defense, forcing 11 turnovers for a 14-6 edge in points off turnovers.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
''We had the game pretty much in hand up until the end. A few missed free throws, a few turnovers, and the game changed.'' - Pittsburgh forward Michael Young.
Pittsburgh: Hosts Miami on Wednesday.
Wake Forest: Travels to No. 4 Duke on Wednesday.