Following Syracuse's 66-52 loss to Pittsburgh, head coach Jim Boeheim heavily criticized starting forward Tyler Roberson for his lackluster play – Roberson finished the game scoreless, and turned the ball over twice.
"If I had anyone else he wouldn't play a minute. Not a minute. You watched the game. I'm not going to describe what he did out there to you."
While Boeheim didn't sit Roberson for the entirety of Syracuse's 75-66 win over NC State, he came pretty close. Roberson played for all of just 14 minutes, a season-low for the 6' 8" forward. The last time Roberson received less than 15 minutes of playing time? February 11, 2015 against Boston College.
The junior finished Saturday against the Wolfpack with just four points, three rebounds, and two turnovers. While Roberson is now locked in Boeheim's doghouse (yay! Kaleb Joseph now has a roommate) it looks like senior Dajuan Coleman will be the biggest benefactor in terms of extra playing time.
Coleman, who averaged 15.8 minutes-per-game entering Saturday, saw a season-high 35 minutes of action during Syracuse's win. The 6' 9" big man made the most of his extended minutes, recording seven points, seven rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.
In his post-game press conference, Boeheim said it was Roberson's defensive letdowns that led to his limited playing time, and Coleman seeing extra minutes as a result.
"[Coleman] is a big guy, we needed another big guy out there. Tyler Roberson wasn't there. ...What you don't understand is we're up I think eight or 10 and [Maverick] Rowan comes in on his side and makes a jumper, and then makes a three. Well that's on his side, that's his position. Nobody sees that because, you know, nobody really understands who's responsible for what, but unfortunately for him, I do know. So they get the two there, and then [Cat] Barber gets in the corner and pulls up and shoots a three in his corner. They start the second half off, and a simple overload that we've worked on everyday, and he doesn't get back and then he fouls the guy on the three-point shot. So it's four defensive plays that he makes that gives them 10 points - and hell we just can't have that."
If Roberson's recent string of disappointing performances continue, Syracuse will need to rely heavily on Coleman and freshman Tyler Lydon to pick up the slack as Syracuse traditionally only works with a seven-to-eight-man rotation, and this year's bench players are seeing even less minutes than usual.