MBB Pitt : Roberts’ emotional championship comes after frustrating semifinals

NEW YORK — Calling Terrence Roberts emotional is like calling New York crowded or Marshall Street fun. Been there, done that. Let’s here something we don’t know.

Roberts’ emotion seeps through on a big dunk. Or at a big game. Or even waking up in the morning. But the junior forward is coming off his worst game of the season — Roberts was scoreless for the first time all year in 13 minutes against Georgetown on Friday – after serving as one of the primary producers in the first two rounds of the Big East tournament. In Saturday’s 65-61 win over Pittsburgh in the Big East Championship, Roberts reverted to his previous form.

Roberts is prideful. After a game like Friday’s, he was probably excited just to be starting. But he did more; much more. Roberts jammed and high-fived his way to 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks He did it all with his trademark, brighter-than-Times Square persona.

‘You’re going to have your bad games, you’re going to have your good games. We have to come in tonight and put it behind us,’ Roberts said. ‘The way I played the other night, me having 0 points and 1 rebound, I feel like I let my team down. But they told me we wouldn’t be here if you didn’t play the way you played against UConn or the way you played against Cincinnati.’

He has a point. Take away the Georgetown debacle and he’s averaging 15 points and seven rebounds in the Big East tournament. Those numbers are better than the junior’s season statistics.

On Friday, Roberts made his mark felt early, converting two ferocious dunks within the first five minutes. After each dunk, Roberts would scream or wave his hands, a 6-foot-9-inch ball of energy. It didn’t stop.

‘I just tried to keep my guys energetic,’ Roberts said. ‘When they took a lead late in the game, I just tried to keep them energetic and keep them going and let them know the game was far from over.’

But like any Roberts story, there were fouls. Four of them by the 13:36 mark in the second half, the third and fourth coming in within a minute span. The ever-honest Roberts questioned some of the calls, labeling them ‘ticky-tac’ fouls.

But he also let his senses prevail. In the first half, Roberts was in a squabble with Pittsburgh guard Carl Krauser. Roberts called Krauser a dirty player and wouldn’t let the senior get the better of him. But before it escalated into something that could hurt the Orange, Roberts cooled down. He’s an emotional player, but an emotional player who wants to win.

When SU won, though, all bets were off. He sought the ball after the final buzzer, took a few steps with it and heaved it deep into the stands. It was an unexpected souvenir for one fan. So too, though, was the Big East Championship trophy for Roberts.

‘I wanted to get it and chuck it up as high as I can,’ Roberts said. ‘You see the refs, they want it so bad. To stand in front of them, throw it as high as you can, it feels good after getting five bad calls.’

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