When Tyler Roberson picked up his fifth foul for the Syracuse Orange with 2:33 remaining in the second half, there was a panic that set in among many SU fans. Roberson's gutsy rebounding (eight total) had been a big part of the team getting back into the game against the Virginia Cavaliers. His cleaning up the glass led to 10 points but being physical under the rim also led to punishment from the refs. A weak foul with Syracuse up just six was worrisome given the team's lack of depth in the frontcourt.
Ends up it wouldn't matter one bit.
Coming in when the Orange needed him most, DaJuan Coleman did all the little -- AND BIG -- things asked of him to help seal the win. You may not notice it from the overall stat line, but Coleman may have had one of his best games of the season, and one of the most important of his career.
Immediately after the aforementioned Roberson foul, Virginia's Devon Hall went to the line, but missed the front-end of a one-and-one, with the rebound collected by Coleman. With 1:14 remaining, he collected a board that helped extend a possession another 20-plus seconds. He served as another body standing in the way of Hoos star Malcolm Brogdon, giving him the hard way to go before picking up a foul in the lane. Coleman grabbed Brogdon's missed three in the closing moments and buried 1-of-2 foul shots to extend the Orange lead to six with two seconds to play.
No, none of this sounds amazing, but that's sort of what makes it a little amazing. Coleman, who plays sparingly, contributes inconsistently, and is still an injury risk despite a pretty healthy 2015-16, is rarely your go-to in a late game situation. And yet, he delivered. He was asked to fill the growing shoes of Roberson, and he made 150 seconds count when this team needed him to just hold it down long enough for the win.
There will be plenty of "legacy" talk about this team and its players when we're all said and done at next week's Final Four. Of all the regular rotation players, however, Coleman's "legacy" may seem most likely to get lost in the shuffle. Even if it does, let's not forget what he did in those closing moments. And how he continues to redefine himself with an efficient stretch of defense- and rebounding-focused basketball, while staying healthy and on the court. Since he got hit with the "injury-prone" label, all we've ever wanted is for Coleman to be healthy and somewhat productive. I'd say this qualifies and then some.