WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- After getting bailed out on his first shot with the game on the line Tuesday night, Chaundee Brown came through on his second chance to give Wake Forest a 78-76 overtime victory over Pitt in a battle of teams desperate for an Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
Brown's 3-pointer from the wing with 35.1 seconds left in overtime put the Demon Deacons (9-13, 2-8 ) ahead to stay at 77-74, and they held on to snap a five-game losing streak.
Pitt's Xavier Johnson hit the first of two free-throw attempts with 6.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two, but the Panthers (12-11, 2-8) failed to grab the rebound off the second shot and time ran out for their sixth straight loss.
Jaylen Hoard had bailed out Brown at the end of regulation, plucking Brown's desperation shot from above the top of the key out of the air and dropping it in the basket with one second left to force overtime.
Brown scored eight of his 18 points in overtime, making a pair of 3-pointers after going just 1 for 6 from behind the arc in regulation.
"I knew I was taking good shots," Brown said. "Our coaches believed in me. They kept telling me, `Keep shooting. Keep shooting."
Hoard scored 19 points and Brandon Childress and Brown added 18 apiece for the Deacons, who have heard speculation about the future of fourth-year coach Danny Manning after a series of poor performances.
Sharone Wright Jr. scored 11 points for the Deacons during a four-minute stretch as they grabbed a 61-53 lead with 5:14 left. Wright's final three points came when his driving shot climbed near the top of the backboard and dropped in after he was fouled, and he converted the free throw.
"Whether we missed a shot or made a turnover, our kids continued to battle," Manning said.
The largest lead of the game was eight points by each team.
With his team leading by three after Brown's decisive 3-pointer, Childress fouled Johnson with 6.8 seconds to play, eliminating a chance for a potential tying 3-point shot.
Johnson made the first shot. The rebound of the second, which Pitt coach Jeff Capel said was not missed intentionally, was knocked out into the backcourt, where Childress tracked it down and dribbled out the clock.
"We weren't ready to go after it," Capel said. "I think if we really go hard and chase the ball, we get it, or maybe we get a foul."
The Panthers scored the game's first eight points. Johnson scored the first five on drives to the basket -- the second was a 3-point play -- in a cold-shooting first half for both teams. The Deacons battled back to tie in the final minute of the opening half, but Johnson drove the length of the court in the final 4.6 seconds to break the tie with a floater that was in the air as the horn sounded.
After a sluggish shooting first half, both teams shot above 50 percent in the final 25 minutes.
Pitt: The loss leaves the Panthers only one-half game ahead of Miami, which could pull into a tie Wednesday by beating Notre Dame, in a battle to stay out of the conference cellar. The Panthers have lost their last 20 road games. Capel said he still believes his team has enough talent to be competitive with any team in the ACC.
Wake Forest: The Deacons, who averaged fewer than 50 points in their past four games, showed some offensive spark in the final 25 minutes. The road ahead is rough with Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame and N.C. State next on the schedule, but they get eight days to rest up. Childress regained his 3-point shooting touch, going 4 for 7 after making just 1 of 20 in his previous three games.
Pitt: The Panthers committed only nine turnovers and shot well in the final 25 minutes. Their biggest problem was on the boards, where the Deacons held a 48-35 rebound advantage. They also made only 10 of 18 from the foul line.
Wake Forest: Jaylen Hoard had 17 rebounds for the Deacons, including the game-saving grab and basket to send the game into overtime. Childress regained his overall form, hitting 5 of 12 from the field, 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 4 of 5 from the line. He also had six assists and only three turnovers.
HE SAID IT
"My confidence was good once I saw one go through the net," said Childress, who had made only 7 of 36 shots in his previous three games and missed his first two shots Tuesday before finishing strong.
Pitt: at N.C. State on Saturday.
Wake Forest: at Florida State on Feb. 13.
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