Lost & Found: C.J. Fair “Gets His Powers Back” Helping Lead SU to the Elite 8

Mr. Old School rediscovers his game and highlights SU’s serious depth.

There were twists, turns and big plays in the Syracuse’s dramatic win over Wisconsin here in Boston, but perhaps none more critical to the Orange than C.J. Fair’s steal and fastbreak dunk with 6 minutes left in the first half. It gave SU a 22-20 lead, but more importantly broke C.J. out of his March slump.

Mr. Do Everything had already missed a pair of free throws and looked lost on offense, but all he needed was the transition basket to get him going. He immediately became a different offensive player, perhaps best described by Scoop Jardine after the game:

“He got his powers back and I’m glad we’re moving on to the Elite 8.”

C.J. certainly did. The old school game of Fair led the team in scoring against the Badgers and provided timely buckets. He was especially dangerous on the baseline, knocking down a slew of important jumpers within 15 feet. He added rebounds and assists, playing one of the best all around gams of his career. Fair’s tentative nature vanished, and he attacked the basket repeatedly looking to get his shots.

Jim Boeheim said he never lost confidence in C.J. despite the struggles. Despite Fair hanging his head at times in the first two games and being extremely passive on offense, The Per’fesser didn’t give him the quick hook. He rode Fair him until he came up with big plays.

The win also showcases the depth of Syracuse, and the multitude of scorers that they have. In three NCAA Tournament games, SU has three different leading scorers. Remarkably, none of those have been either of the seniors or Brandon Triche. Not too many teams have a roster that could potentially have 6 different leading scorers en route to a title, but SU is certainly capable.

If C.J. continues to be aggressive on offense and finish around the rim it will add yet another element to a potent SU offense and could propel them to New Orleans. One more win is all that’s needed to send Boeheim back to the Big Easy. Old school indeed.

Posted: Alex Plavin in Boston

2 Comments on this Post

  1. orangeskin

    You called it right at the time on twitter. The runout dunk was definitely what got him going. After he missed those FTs, I was thinking JB would pull him. My one criticism of SU in the second half is that they didn’t go to C.J. enough. He should’ve gotten the ball on side isolation every single trip to try to force a Wisco double team. I also thought C.J. didn’t close out quickly enough on a couple of threes that Wisco hit, but that’s basically nitpicking. Great game, but I like games like K. State more. Nice to relax down the stretch. SU has a real battle on Saturday, and will need Rakeem to rebound because Cincy got crushed on the offensive glass, although Cronin said that turnovers did them in, and I think he’s right. I hope the SU guards realize Craft is a good defender, but use their strength to back him down and post him up. Ohio State isn’t tall, and missed a lot of open threes last night. However, SU must be competitive on the boards, and force them to turn it over the way that Cincy did when they went on their run. I suspect Southerland plays more than 4 minutes on Saturday. When he’s in, he HAS to hit open shots. I can’t believe that MCW has yet to play in the tournament. I keep hoping he’ll get some run, but I almost think JB feels like he doesn’t need him so why take a chance. I think the kid has ridiculous skills so why not play him. Heck, the way Kris Joseph’s been playing, give MCW a few minutes at Kris’ expense. Maybe that will kick-start Kris. He can’t be invisible on Saturday, and it would be nice (I know I’m dreaming when I say this) if Baye actually caught every pass that was thrown to him. Having #51 would be nice too, but we can’t worry about that, and neither can the team. Survive and advance baby. 40 minutes from New Orleans. I really want to see Scoop cutting down the nets while the crowd is going nuts yelling Scoop! It was cool seeing his dad in the crowd last night acting like just another crazy SU fan.

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