Senior guard Jared Wilson-Frame recorded his first double-double of the season as Pitt rolled over Maryland-Eastern Shore, 78-43, Saturday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center.
“First and foremost, it’s good to win again.” Said Pitt head coach Jeff Capel. “We haven’t won in a couple games – we lost three out of four. Coming back from exam break, this is a game where I was very worried about how we would perform because we haven’t competed in a week or had a lot of practice time because of exams. I like the way we competed. I thought we did some good things, especially defensively.”
Coming off the bench, Wilson-Frame had 11 points and converted a trio of 3-pointers. He also led the Panthers with 11 rebounds. Freshman point guard Xavier Johnson paced the Panthers (8- 3) with 12 points for his 11th consecutive game scoring in double figures to begin his collegiate career, a program record.
In total, Pitt outscored the Hawks 41-1 off the bench. Forward Terrell Brown also broke into double figures with 10 points off the bench. The Hawks (1-10) only dressed nine players for the game and that number was whittled when reserve guard Gabriel Gyamfi fouled out early in the second half.
“I don’t think we’re at a point in our program where we can experiment.” Said Capel. “We’re trying to build habits and create habits, so we’re trying to do what we do and get better at those things. Talking, communicating on defense, not being screened, making sure our ball screen coverage is connected, making sure we’re sharing the basketball, trying not to turn the ball over – all those things. That’s what we’re trying to get out of each game. Trying to build those habits where they become second nature to us. It’s not right now.”
Not only did UMES not have the number of bodies, they were out-classed in size, as well, with just two 6-foot-7 forwards in A.J. Cheesman and Tyler Jones and no one taller. The Panthers handily won the battle on the boards, 51-29, and outscored the Hawks in the paint, 36-24.
Jones led UMES with 16 points before he fouled out late. Cheesman also finished with 16 points.
Guard Robert Andino became the 10th player in the UMES history to cross the 1,000-point plateau. He came into the game with 996 points and scored six more despite shooting 2-of-10. The fifth-year senior took a medical redshirt in 2017-18, but has returned to form, averaging a career-high 13 points per game coming into Saturday.
I thought we did a terrific job on Ryan Andino, so I’m pleased with that.” Said Capel. “I thought as the game went on, our offense got a little better and picked up, so I’m pleased about that.”
Pitt Played its first game without backup center Peace Ilegomah, who announced his intention to transfer during the Panthers’ off week, sophomore forward Shamiel Stevenson received his most playing time in over a month. Stevenson had six points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
Pitt Remains home to host New Orleans on Dec. 20 in the Panthers’ next-to-last non-conference game of the season. “Again, I’m proud of our guys for the way we’ve handled this week with exams and for the effort that we had today.”-Said Capel.
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