Brian Roberts: Three moments to remember

Former Dayton Flyers star to be honored Saturday

Guard Brian Roberts left his mark with the Dayton Flyers with numerous big games and big shots between his freshman season in 2004-05 and his final game on March 26, 2008. He ranks fourth in school history with 1,962 points.

Nine years later, Roberts will hear the cheers at UD Arena once again. He will be inducted into the UD Hall of Fame with three other former Flyers today at halftime of a 2 p.m. game against St. Bonaventure.

In honor of Roberts, here’s a look back at three of his biggest moments:

1. Beating Miami: Roberts scored 12 points in the final 64 seconds, leading the Flyers to a dramatic win against the Miami RedHawks in Oxford on Nov. 28, 2007. Here's an excerpt from Tom Archdeacon's story:

The moment was huge, and Brian Roberts couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't even breathe.

We're not talking about the pressurized seconds at the end of Wednesday's game at Millett Hall, his team down by two and the ball suddenly in his hands.No, the Dayton guard hit that shot, a long 3-pointer with five seconds left — one of the most dramatic shots in UD basketball history — to lift the Flyers to a stunning 63-62 victory over Miami.

It was Dayton's first lead all night and marked the third biggest second-half comeback (15 points) in UD history. Miami had opened the game with a 30-9 run and still led by eight with just 65 seconds left.

As for Roberts' breathlessness, that came at the buzzer when he was mobbed by hopping, screaming, delirious teammates.

"I couldn't breathe," the senior guard said. "I tried to scream, but nothing came out. The guys were squeezing me so hard I couldn't do anything."

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

2. Routing Pittsburgh: Dayton beat No. 6 Pittsburgh 80-55 on UD Arena on Dec. 29, 2007. Roberts was the best player on the court. Here's an excerpt from Tom Archdeacon's story:

Pittsburgh's Sam Young spoke for everyone — the sellout UD Arena crowd, the national TV audience, the NBA scouts sitting courtside, the players and coaches on both teams — when he sought Brian Roberts out after Saturday night's game.

The Panthers' junior forward reached down and hugged the Dayton Flyers guard in the handshake line afterward and whispered: "You're one helluva player."

Roberts scored a game-high 31 points, had five assists and played stifling defense as the Flyers stunned the college basketball world with an 80-55 thumping of sixth-ranked, previously undefeated Pitt.

"His performance tonight will certainly go down as one of the best in college basketball this year," UD coach Brian Gregory said. "Against a great team, he dominated the game. And not just with his scoring. Passing, defense, he did everything. I've been saying all along he is one of the most efficient guards in the country, and tonight again he proved it. We've now played two high-quality Big East teams, and both times he was the best guard on the floor."

3. Senior night: Roberts and Jimmy Binnie were part of Gregory's first recruiting class and were honored on March 8, 2008, before the last regular-season game of the season against St. Joseph's at UD Arena. The Flyers won 79-67. Here's an excerpt from Archdeacon's story:

There were five players in all and they arrived with much promise. Three now play elsewhere: Trent Meachem at Illinois, Chris Alvarez at Northeastern and Norman Plummer at Southern Indiana.

Binnie and Roberts stayed and have become cornerstones for Gregory's program.

"When all of us came in as freshman, we were BG's guys," Binnie said. "We still had some of OP's guys (former coach Oliver Purnell), and we all got along. But they were used to a different coach, a different system. Some of them didn't really accept BG the way we did. Obviously, some of the guys (BG) recruited didn't either.When guys you became friends with, dreamed with, leave, it can be hard on you. You question yourself, too. But one thing I never wanted to do was quit. Not after what these coaches did for me and this school did for me."

Roberts, who had 15 points and six assists Saturday, agreed: "People come, people go — that's life. What matters is how you respond and I think we responded pretty well."

Gregory said he feels a kinship to the pair who "believed in what we were talking about sight unseen. I hadn't won my first game yet and they committed and signed."

Roberts said he and Binnie grew up here: "We're different from those kids who stepped on this campus four years ago."

About the Author