McGowens, Wilson-Frame Help ‘Hungrier’ Pitt to Senior Day Win

Panthers snap losing skid in tight win

Josh Rowntree
March 09, 2019 - 4:41 pm
Pittsburgh Panthers guard Trey McGowens (2) dunks against Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward John Mooney (33) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center.

charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Pitt is now 1-0 all-time with Bethel Park grad Joe Mascaro in the starting lineup. 

Mascaro, a walk-on over the last three years, only stayed in the game for 15 seconds before Panthers coach Jeff Capel pulled him for Trey McGowens. 

But Mascaro is likely understanding, as McGowens went for a team-best 16 points, his most since a 30-point effort against Florida State on January 14, as Pitt topped Notre Dame, 56-53, on senior day at the Petersen Events Center. 

Prior to the game, Pitt honored its three departing players in Mascaro, guard Jared Wilson-Frame and guard Sidy N’dir. 

“I just feel like we completed a mission,” Wilson-Frame said. “We always talk about that at the beginning of games, that we’ve got to finish games.

“We have often dropped the ball in those moments and it’s because of a collective — it’s not an individual thing. Today we collectively triumphed over that and overcame that.”

The loss snapped a 13-game losing streak for Pitt following a pair of upset wins over nationally ranked teams. 

“We were hungrier,” Wilson-Frame said. “We wanted it a lot more than we’ve wanted it in a long time. That’s something we’ve talked about within the team and with the coaching staff. 

“When we were on a good track and winning games and even winning big games in the ACC, that was something we were upholding ourselves to do. We did that today .We were the hungrier team today and it showed.”

The loss assures that Pitt will not finish in last in the ACC in back-to-back seasons, as the Panthers will receive the 14-seed in next week’s ACC tournament. 

“To be able to win their final home game, those guys have meant a lot to this program,” Capel said. “(Mascaro) has been here the longest and, to me, he’s the epitome of this city. He’s tough, he’s gritty, he’s a hard worker and he’s very passionate about this city, about this university and about our program. 

“(N’dir) is a guy that wanted an opportunity to play at the highest level. He had been good player at New Mexico State, won a lot there, but wanted that chance to play at the highest level. It was really good to see him finally make some shots. 

“And (Wilson-Frame), he’s a guy that believed right away when I got the job. When there wa s a lot of uncertainty, he was certain in his beliefs in me, us and the future and direction.”

Wilson-Frame scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, connecting on four three-pointers in his final home game. Despite back-to-back years in which the program struggled in conference, he sees a positive direction being moved towards under Capel.

“It’s definitely a great feeling to step out on that court and have Pitt across your chest, see Pitt on that half court and look up in those stands,” he said. “That’s what you’re used to see growing up. It’s kind of nostalgic to just be a part of that, in that jersey.

“I just feel good to be able to haver a sense of that leadership on the team. I feel like that’s a humbling feeling, an exciting feeling for anybody, to be able to have a voice and be able to say ‘listen here,’ and everybody gives you their eyes and attention. So that’s one thing I’m going to be grateful for, when I leave here, is that I was able to have that impact.”

Hear all of what Jeff Capel had to say following Pitt’s 56-53 win over Notre Dame below.