With less than 10 seconds left and Syracuse trailing by one, Josh Pace drove the lane and flipped up a floater, missing off the left rim. But Roberts was there for the putback and was fouled in the process. He hit the free throw, giving Syracuse an 86-84 lead.
Rutgers then inbounded it to freshman Dan Waterstradt, who was double-teamed by Roberts near the top of the key. Roberts was supposed to be covering the right baseline, and left Quincy Douby wide open for a 3-pointer.
Douby, who was 3-for-9 from downtown at that point, saw his shot go halfway down the cylinder and bounce out, securing the Syracuse win.
The victory capped a remarkable comeback from the Orange (20-1, 7-0 Big East), which was down 18 points a halftime. It was only Syracuse's second win in its last six tries at Rutgers (7-9, 1-5).
Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara led the way, each contributing 21 points. Syracuse became the first Division I team to reach 20 wins. It has now won 13 straight.
Ricky Shields led the Scarlet Knights with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Things looked bleak for Syracuse after Rutgers closed the first half on a 21-3 run. But Syracuse employed a full-court press and ditched its vaunted 2-3 zone in favor of man-to-man defense to start the second half and immediately cut into the lead.
The Orange went on a 9-0 run capped by a Josh Pace layup to pull within 54-45 with 19:02 left. Syracuse would eventually take the lead and extend its margin to eight points on a McNamara 3-pointer to make it 80-74 with 5:56 left.
Rutgers refused to fade.
The Scarlet Knights would regain the lead on two separate occasions. The first time, Shields drained a 3-pointer to put Rutgers up one. After Billy Edelin answered with a floater, two Waterstradt free throws gave Rutgers the lead again, an 84-83 lead with 30 seconds left.
Roberts tip-in; Douby's miss leads to Syracuse win
Cuse Nation Top Stories
Watch: Syracuse QB Commit Senior HighlightsRamsey (N.J.) Don Bosco quarterback Tommy DeVito, who is committed to Syracuse, in action as a senior.
Scout Football4:52 AM
Syracuse Football Recruiting Trend MeterGet the inside scoop on where things stand with Syracuse football's top targets in the 2017 class.
Cuse NationYesterday at 7:45 PM
Scout On the Road: OctoberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of October...
Scout FootballYesterday at 1:30 PM
Watch: No. 2 Va. OT manhandles opponentsTyran Hunt shows why he is a top target for schools such as Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech in his senior midseason highlights.
Scout FootballYesterday at 12:43 PM