Freshmen lead North Carolina into clash in Pittsburgh

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North Carolina coach Roy Williams is pleased with the blossoming maturity of his Tar Heels, who have won five of their last six games.

Maturity has also been an issue for Pitt, but coach Jeff Capel is not happy with the Panthers' development in that area.

The teams meet in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

The Tar Heels (10-5, 5-3 ACC) are enjoying good vibes in part from improved play from their newcomers.

"I love our freshmen," Williams said. "I think they're doing some really, really nice things. The best thing for me is I think their defensive grades are getting better."

Four freshmen -- Day'Ron Sharpe (16 points), Caleb Love (15), Anthony Harris (10) and RJ Davis (10) -- scored in double figures in Saturday's 86-76 win against NC State. It was the first time four UNC freshmen scored in double figures since Jan. 27, 2007 at Arizona.

Pittsburgh (8-3, 4-2) had won all three of its January games until a somewhat stunning 76-75 loss Saturday night at Wake Forest, which had been winless in league play.

"We showed a lack of maturity that we haven't shown in a while with some of our shot selection ... and then our effort at the defensive end," Capel said. "Not just the loss, we weren't deserving of winning by some of the things we did."

Capel, whose team begins a three-game homestand, pointed to lack of urgency as one of his primary concerns. Defeating Syracuse twice and then toppling Duke might have had the Panthers feeling too good.

"We have to be able to handle success like mature people," Capel said.

To rebound from the weekend result, the Panthers will need to continue their strong rebounding.

North Carolina is tops nationally in rebounds per game (43.5), while Pitt ranks seventh in the country (42.3).

The Panthers outscored Wake Forest 34-16 in points in the paint -- something that might be difficult to duplicate against North Carolina's interior.

The Tar Heels scored a season-high 86 points against the Wolfpack, the fourth time this season and second game in a row that they scored 80 or more points.

North Carolina has had a different leading scorer in each of its last six games, with Armando Bacot (17) leading the way against NC State.

"Balanced scoring for us, I think that was big," Williams said. "I like the balance."

Pitt received a boost in the Wake Forest game from Abdoul Karim Coulibaly's career-high 15 points, the sophomore forward's third career game in double figures.

--Field Level Media