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Pitt rolls past Wake Forest to reach quarterfinals
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Lamar Patterson scored 24 points and Pittsburgh routed Wake Forest 84-55 on Thursday in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Talib Zanna added 17 points to help the fifth-seeded Panthers (24-8) win their ACC tournament debut.
They never trailed, shot 50 percent and established a 38-30 rebounding advantage while giving Wake Forest one of the most lopsided ACC tournament losses in school history.
Pitt beat Wake Forest for the second time this season and claiming just its second conference tournament victory in any league since 2008.
The Panthers will play No. 15 North Carolina, the tournament's fourth seed, in a quarterfinal Friday.
Coron Williams scored 16 points and Codi Miller-McIntyre added 10 for the 12th-seeded Demon Deacons (17-16).
They followed their best shooting performance of the year — a 61 percent showing against Notre Dame in the first round — with a dud.
The only drama in the second half was whether Wake Forest would wind up with its worst-ever ACC tournament loss — a distinction that still belongs to the 1966 team that lost its opener by 30 to Duke.
Josh Newkirk added 10 points for the Panthers, who went one-and-done in four of their final five trips to the Big East tournament before coming into the ACC this year along with Syracuse and Notre Dame.
Their first regular season in their new league ended with a decent amount of stress: Four of the Panthers' previous five victories went to overtime, and until now, they hadn't had the luxury of coasting since they beat Clemson by 33 on Jan. 21.
Part of the reason this one was so easy was because Pitt completely neutralized Wake Forest big man Devin Thomas.
Thomas was coming off a 19-point, 10-rebound effort against the Fighting Irish, but he finished this one with eight points and six rebounds before fouling out against a Pitt team that had allowed only two double-figure rebounders in its previous seven games.
The Demon Deacons were 6-1 this season when Thomas had at least 10 rebounds.
The strength of Pitt's NCAA tournament resume has been its lack of bad losses — and being beaten by the Demon Deacons certainly would have qualified as one.
But at no point during this game did that seem like a possibility.
The Panthers set the tone early by scoring on eight of their first nine possessions and needing only about 5½ minutes to push their lead into double figures. Pitt went up 39-23 on Zanna's three-point play with 34.4 seconds left in the half and pulled away in the second half.