MBB : Fair shines on offense, boards to help Syracuse to victory over Connecticut
Dion Waiters calls C.J. Fair the silent assassin.
Fair certainly played his part Saturday. Syracuse’s 10-of-16 3-point-shooting performance continuously knocked Connecticut back, but the sophomore forward was everywhere the Orange needed him to be, knocking down jumpers and cleaning up the boards.
‘A lot of times he’ll get overlooked on some things,’ Waiters said. ‘… We know what he can do. He’s one of the best players on the team. Just for him to come out here and rebound like he did today, we need that every game.’
Fair was exceptional Saturday, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Orange’s 85-67 win over the Huskies on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. Fair entered the game at the 18:06 mark in the first half and played for the rest of the game, reaching a career high in rebounds by aggressively crashing the defensive glass. In addition, he complemented the Orange’s long-range shooters by picking his spots midrange and inside. Fair finished 6-of-8 from the field, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the second half.
‘I wanted to rebound well, that was my main focus today,’ Fair said. ‘Rebounding and then hitting open shots.’
Syracuse was outrebounded by 17 in its last game against Georgetown on Wednesday. The sophomore said he watched the tape of the game with Orange assistant coach Adrian Autry, and Autry pointed out rebounding battles that Fair or one of his teammates could have won.
The 6-foot-8 forward snagged 11 of his 12 rebounds defensively. Nine of those came off UConn’s first shot of a possession or a free throw.
He corralled half of Syracuse’s 12 first-half rebounds.
‘He’s a pretty good rebounder overall,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘Sometimes it’s where you’re positioned, where the ball comes in the zone. I thought he was more aggressive getting it.’
In Fair’s second career double-double, he also displayed the strengths of his offensive skill set. The baseline jumper. The midrange shot. The dunk.
Scoop Jardine found ways to get Fair open on the baseline. The senior guard would run around a pick and drive toward the basket. As he converged on the paint, Fair faded away toward the corner on the side Jardine came from.
It left the player trailing Jardine from the pick-and-roll to make a decision. Most of the time, he left Fair open, and Jardine fed him for the jumper.
The play worked to perfection in the second half when Jardine came toward the bucket from the right wing as Fair drifted to the right corner. When Jardine passed the ball off, Fair sunk a wide-open jumper to put SU ahead 63-55 with 8:48 to play.
‘C.J. works on his shot every day in practice, and I have confidence that he can continue to make that shot,’ Jardine said. ‘And that opens up our offense.’
After his 2-of-10, five-point performance against Georgetown, Fair said he got in the gym to continue working on his shot. He considers his midrange jumper to be the best part of the game and kept his confidence high.
In a crucial possession with the Orange’s lead cut to two with 12-plus minutes left, Fair drove to the hoop from the right side. He pulled up for a midrange jumper and it dropped through the net, snapping a 5-0 Connecticut run and pushing Syracuse’s lead back to 56-52.
‘He’s been working hard this week on shooting,’ Boeheim said. ‘When he has a bad game, he takes it to heart, and he really went to work the last two days shooting the basketball, and it paid off big time tonight.’
Fair’s work didn’t fly under the radar Saturday. His play was noticed by the 33,430 in attendance at the Carrier Dome, especially when he skied toward the rim to send home a pass from Jardine that seemed destined to be a turnover.
With the Orange leading 23-15 a little more than midway through the first half, Jardine pushed the ball in transition after a Fab Melo block. Jardine dribbled past half court and looked up — a moment where Fair said he and the guard locked eyes.
Jardine flipped a pass near the right sideline high toward the left side of the rim, and Fair went up and got it. He slammed it home, punctuating an early 8-0 run to put Syracuse up 10 and forcing UConn to call a timeout.
‘C.J.’s a huge factor for us,’ Boeheim said. ‘He was tremendous today.’
Man of faith: Thomas Wolfe uses role as dean of Hendricks, student affairs to connect with SU students, faculty, staff
Thomas Wolfe has many talents. He can ride a unicycle, craft a perfect tuna noodle casserole and bring a community together in the face of… Read more »
UPDATED: May 22, 2013 at 3:05 p.m. Once again, Syracuse men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim made the most of any Syracuse University employee in… Read more »
IRS form shows SU's legal fees almost doubled from 2010-11; increase coincides with year of Bernie Fine allegations
UPDATED: May 22, 2013 at 3:07 p.m. The year sexual abuse allegations against Bernie Fine publicly broke, Syracuse University’s legal fees increased by about 92 percent. The… Read more »