Roberts was asked if this was the best win of his tenure that has seen the Red Storm go 58-71.
Asked if this was his biggest win, Roberts told reporters: “Probably because of us being depleted a little bit and having the young guys step up. In this league you’ve got to be ready to play No. 2, No. 3, No. 16. There are so many good teams. We want our guys to stay focused and not give up. You can’t put your head down. You have to fight through adversity.
“I told them there was no miracle stuff that happened out there. We committed 18 turnovers. There was no us making 12 3s. It was just us playing hard and not giving up.”
Huge win for the Johnnies, who will sandwich road games against Pitt and Villanova against a home tilt with UConn.
Jeremy Hazell scored 29 points — hearly half of the Pirates output — on 9-of-14 shooting. Eugene Harvey added 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
After missing games with a knee injury, senior forward John Garcia came back and played 16 minutes before fouling out, tallying just 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
Former Bloomfield Tech star DaSean Butler had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Alex Ruoff added points for the Mountaineers (11-2, 1-0), playing their Big East opener. West Virginia shot 8 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Ironically, Butler (pictured) told me last week that he considered going to Seton Hall, but after Louis Orr left, he wasnt sure what the future held.“I was really thinking about staying home for either Rutgers or Seton Hall,” Butler said. “But Rutgers, I ended up not getting a scholarship [after the coaching change]. And with Seton Hall, some real close friends told me that Coach Orr might not be coming back. And I wanted to play for Coach Orr, but I didn’t know who was going to be there. “I had no clue that they were going to get ‘Gonzo’ [Bobby Gonzalez] there. I knew him for a while from when I was younger, and he’s a great coach. If I knew he was going to be there, I probably would have thought it out a little more.”
Seton Hall has dropped four of five since an 8-1 start. Next up is a home date with Villanova on Tuesday.
**Rutgers completed its trifecta against the No. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the nation with an 80-49 blowout loss at No. 2 UConn on Saturday.
The Scarlet Knights fought No. 1 North Carolina bravely before falling 97-75 and led No. 3 Pitt at the 9:51 mark before losing 78-72.
But playing a UConn team that was coming off a tough home loss to Georgetown proved too much for Fred Hill and company.
Hasheem Thabeet (15 points), Jerome Dyson (14) Jeff Adrien (13), Stanley Robinson (11) and Gavin Edwards (10) all scored in double-figures in the rout.
Greg Echenique led RU with 17 points on 4-of-6 from the field and 9-of-9 from the stripe.
Mike Rosario, praised by Carolina coach Roy Williams last week, struggled to score 10 points on 2-of-13 shooting. The Knights were outrebounded 37-25.
It doesnt get easier for the Knights, who host Marquette and Syracuse before visiting Cincinnati and returning home to face Louisville.