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March 13, 2019

Jeff Capel

Jared Wilson-Frame

New York, New York

Syracuse - 73, Pittsburgh - 59

JEFF CAPEL: You know, our record isn't indicative of how hard we fought this year, and the thing that I feel that these guys on this team and in that locker room did was that they gave our program hope. And that's something that's really, really important, and so I thought we took some major steps forward as a program, and we'll use these lessons that we've been through, and there have been some very tough lessons at times, but they've helped us become better and grow. This guy next to me believed from day one, from the time it was announced I was hired, I called him that night we had a conversation and he was all in, and he and I had some very tough conversations, I was very honest of my assessment of him from afar as a player. I didn't know him as a person so I couldn't comment on that. And when I got there, we met, we talked, and right away, he committed to changing.

And I think he's had a great -- I thought he had a great senior season. I wish we could have helped him get more wins, but his leadership, his buy-in, everything that you'd want from a good player and from a senior. And so I'm really proud of him.

I hate that it ended like this. Our season is abrupt. It ends abruptly. Our season ended today, but I will remember this group for the group that gave this program hope again.

Q. In the second half where did you see things kind of break down, and how much of an impact do you think there was from this being y'all's second game in a 26-hour span?
JEFF CAPEL: (No audio.) And then I thought that affected our defense, our inability to score and our hesitancy I thought made us not as in tune to what we were trying to do defensively in the second half.

And they got momentum right away. I think they scored on their first four or five possessions, and they got a lot of confidence, where in the first half I thought our defense was terrific.

We had some breakdowns in the second half right away early, and they got the momentum, and I thought we got deflated a little bit. But we continued to fight.

But they're a good team, and they have veteran guys, although they were missing their best player. They still have guys that were part of a Sweet 16 team and have been really good players in this league. And then Boeheim stepped up and hit some big shots for them.

I just thought that they played better than us in the second half.

Q. Jeff, do you think their size or the big lineup they used in the second half gave you some problem altering a lot of shots you took?
JEFF CAPEL: Yeah, I think so. This is the third time we've played them, and they've been bigger than us every time, so it's bothered us every time, especially at the basket. They're tough to score at the rim, especially if you don't have guys that can play above the rim and have confrontations at the rim with them.

You know, in the first half, look, this guy made six threes. That was the difference in the first half, and it opened some things up and we were able to couple things right there in the mid range, we were able to get the ball to the high post area and make some plays. In the second half they kind of adjusted their zone and kind of sloughed off everyone except for him, so it made it a little more difficult to get into the high post. When they did, they kind of forced us to the basket and the big fella was there to clean up a lot of stuff. So their size did bother us.

Q. Jared, I noticed looking at the stats sheet you're the only Pitt player that played 40 minutes tonight. You led the team in scoring. Do you feel like you left it all out there?
JARED WILSON-FRAME: You know, that's just something I try to do every day. Like he said, from day one, the conversation that we had, that was something he mentioned to me and that was something I told him I wanted to do. It was something I felt like I had a problem with before, and I was on myself just as hard as he was, and I just tried to leave it all out there on the floor for my guys, everybody on the team. I love this group, so...

Q. Jeff, you touched on Tyus Battle a little bit and they did have Buddy Boeheim today and he's known as a shooter but he did a couple of other things against you guys too. How effective was he today?
JEFF CAPEL: He was terrific. I think he likes playing against us. He's had his best games, I think, against us. He was terrific. We wanted to make him put the ball on the floor. He did that a couple times. He kept a couple basketballs alive getting to the offensive glass, and obviously with him being able to shoot the ball like that, he can stretch you out, now all of a sudden you're playing in close-outs. He's improved from the first time we played him. I thought the first time he was more of just a shooter. I think he's made an adjustment, and you can tell the staff has worked with him on doing other things besides just being a three-point shooter, and he's got a mid-range game now, he can play off of a shot fake, one or two bounces, get into a spot. He's big, and he's got good size.

When you can shoot the ball like that, that's a big-time weapon, and it opens up so many other things in your game.

Q. I was curious, are you all planning on pursuing any potential postseason opportunities, whether it's the CBI or anything like that?
JEFF CAPEL: I don't know how that works. I've never been in a position like that, so I don't know how that works. With our record, I don't know how that works.

Q. I was just wondering, I kind of asked the same question to your women's basketball coach last week, you guys are kind of in similar situations where you inherited new teams this year. What sort of foundation did Jared and Sidy and some of those veteran players kind of set for you going forward in your tenure here?
JEFF CAPEL: Well, the thing we tried to do was establish how hard we have to play. You know, you have to fight to be good. It doesn't just happen. And you have to show up every day, and there's an investment that you have to make, A, in order to become a really good player, and then B, to become a really good team. And that's something, to be quite frank, none of these guys knew about. They didn't understand the investment that it takes to make that happen.

And so I don't compare our program to anyone else. I compare it to us and to what we're dealing with. And so it was teaching everything, and so I thought we took some steps there in how hard you have to work individually and collectively.

It's hard to win. It does not just happen. You know, you have to show up every day. You have to fight every day. There has to be an investment of time, of commitment, of taking care of your body and things like that. All those things that we have to learn, and again, I thought we took some steps. We're certainly not anywhere close to where we want to be, but I think we're better than we were -- it was almost a year ago when I walked into this job. I think we've made big-time steps.

Q. You've touched on this some, but for Jeff as a coach and for Jared as a player, what is it with -- in all likelihood over now -- what is it you take away from this season?
JARED WILSON-FRAME: Like I said to you a couple weeks ago, I just see the growth that we've all made, first as men, especially as young men, and then as basketball players. You know, under Coach Capel, under the rest of the staff, they've done a great job of building this program back to where it needs to be, and I have the utmost confidence that in these coming years it's going to be way better than everyone even expects, and we expect it to be in good hands for the rest of these years, but I think it's actually even going to be better than people expect.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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