Roberson scores 22 to lead T Tech past Seton Hall

3/17/10 in NCAABB

NEWARK, N.J. -- John Roberson scored 22 points and Darko Cohadarevic recovered from a first-half low blow to score 12 points, leading Texas Tech to an easy 87-69 victory over Seton Hall in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament Tuesday night.

Texas Tech (18-15) advances to face the winner Arizona State-Jacksonville.

It was the 10th straight loss in the NIT for the Pirates (19-13), who have not won a game in the tourney since 1956.

Texas Tech took control of the game right after Seton Hall forward Herb Pope was ejected for delivering a blow to the groin of Cohadarevic, who remained on the floor for several minutes.

After Pope's ejection with 14:17 left in the first half, the Red Raiders scored 13 straight points to take a 23-10 lead. D'walyn Roberts (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Robert Lewandowski had four points each during that stretch.

Cohadarevic returned and scored six points in the first half, leading Texas Tech to a 45-32 lead at halftime.

"My kids wanted this bad," Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said. "We had a tough stretch at the end of the season, but we kept on talking about the NIT. It's an honor for us to be here. I'm happy our kids got a taste of the postseason."

The Red Raiders gradually increased the lead in the second half, leading 72-49 with seven minutes left.

Roberson admitted that Texas Tech changed its approach after Pope's departure.

"We had to change our game plan because Pope was one of their focal points," Roberson said.

Texas Tech also received 13 points from Mike Singletary.

"We wanted to attack the rim and not settle for jump shots," Singletary said. "Once he (Pope) was gone, it was our turn to get to the paint, get easy shots and second-chance shots."

Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez said that it was tough to overcome the loss of Pope.

"We really didn't have any way to win without Herb Pope," Gonzalez said. "He's an irreplaceable guy, the heart and soul of this team. When he got thrown out of the game, we lost a lot of fire, juice and energy."

Neither Knight nor Gonzalez said they saw the play, but Gonzalez said that he spoke with the officials who told him Pope delivered the low blow intentionally.

"He must have deserved to go out, because you can't do what they said he did," Gonzalez said. "It took a lot of wind out of our sails."

Jeff Robinson paced the Pirates with 23 points while Jordan Theodore added 13 for Seton Hall. Eugene Harvey added 12 points in his final game for Seton Hall.

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