Armando Bacot scored a season-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds as North Carolina continued its strong play this month by defeating host Pittsburgh 75-65 in their Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Tuesday night.
Garrison Brooks was also a presence in the post, tallying 16 points. Bacot and Brooks combined to shoot 16-for-21 from the field as the Tar Heels shot 52.5 percent overall.
Kerwin Walton scored seven of his 10 points in the second half for the Tar Heels (11-5, 6-3 ACC), who have won six of their last seven games.
Justin Champagnie poured in 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Pittsburgh (8-4, 4-3), which has dropped two games in a row. Ithiel Horton added 12 points.
North Carolina guard Caleb Love, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Week, made a clutch 3-pointer to help the Tar Heels thwart Pittsburgh's second-half momentum. That pushed the North Carolina edge to 73-65.
He fouled out shortly after on an offensive foul, finishing with eight points and a team-high five assists.
The Tar Heels ended up just 7-for-14 on free throws, though Bacot was 5-for-6. North Carolina held a 37-29 rebounding edge.
Earlier, North Carolina built a 16-point lead in the second half, but the Panthers made a charge, aided by a 10-0 run that closed the gap to 68-63 with 3:50 remaining. Bacot's basket snapped a North Carolina scoring drought of more than 3 1/2 minutes.
The Tar Heels don't have a weekend game on the slate, so they finish with a 6-1 record in January.
The Panthers were trying to notch a third consecutive victory in the series for the first time.
Champagnie was 4-for-5 on 3-point attempts, but the rest of the Panthers were a combined for 2-for-10.
North Carolina made eight of its first 12 shots from the field. Pittsburgh went more than eight minutes without a field goal, yet trailed only 20-14 with eight minutes left in the first half.
--Field Level Media