By DAN KELLYSpecial to ZAGSBLOGBROOKLYN — Ronald Roberts Jr. can dunk.
The 6-foot-8 junior from St. Joe’s played way up above the rim in both match-ups this weekend at the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center.
After putting up 21 points and 16 rebounds in St. Joe’s upset of No. 20 Notre Dame Friday night, the former St. Peter’s Prep standout added 15 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s 73-66 loss to Florida State in the title game.
Most of his put-backs were vicious two-handed slams. Roberts, who was not available for comment, jumps so high on his dunks that they have an epic, slow-motion quality to them
“[He exceeded] my expectations against that front line,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “Seven offensive rebounds is a lot against that front line…And he made the All-Tournament team but there will be no holding your head high on the bus or anything like that, and Ronald would feel the same way.”
St. Joe’s faced the defensive-minded Seminoles and their senior do-everything guard Michael Snaer. The Hawks came out playing a physical, high-flying brand of basketball but they lost their legs late in the second half.
C.J. Aiken had 10 points. Carl Jones, a senior, made his season debut after sitting out three games (exhibition included) for a violation of University community standards, and scored 13 points.
Saint Joseph’s went on a 10-2 run to start the second half as a jumper by Halil Kanacevic put St. Joe’s on top, 42-38, with 16:41 to play. A three-pointer by Chris Wilson pushed the advantage back to four at 47-43 at the 15:24 mark.
The Seminoles then went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to take a lead they would not relinquish at 52-47 with 13:35 to play.
Martelli is disappointed with the loss but this tournament has put St. Joe’s and Roberts on the college hoops map.
(The AP contributed)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.