Fair finishes college career with early exit from NCAA Tournament

first_img Published on March 23, 2014 at 2:45 am Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHass BUFFALO, N.Y. — C.J. Fair remembers not knowing what to expect when he first came to college. Four years later, Fair’s superb college career has come to a close. He has become a household name in Upstate New York, is nationally recognized and will leave Syracuse as one of the winningest players in program history.“I just felt welcomed here since the first day I’ve been here,” Fair said.On Saturday, in No. 3-seed Syracuse’s (28-6, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) 55-53 loss to No. 11-seed Dayton (25-10, 10-6 Atlantic 10), Fair said farewell to those same SU fans. He scored 14 points, grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds and swatted three shots. Tyler Ennis’ furious one-man onslaught nearly carried the Orange to a come-from-behind win, but SU never would have gotten to that point without Fair. Though he shot just 4-of-14 from the field and struggled offensively early — just like everyone else who saw the floor — Fair hit key shots down the stretch.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He struggled a little, and he’s had some games where he’s struggled,” Boeheim said. “In the second half, he got it back and got it going to the basket.”Early in the second frame, Fair busted out a lethal crossover, blowing by multiple defenders and meeting 6-foot-10 Matt Kavanaugh in the air. The ball bounced off the front rim and fell, as SU cut the deficit to one.At that point, Dayton’s Jordan Sibert had just nailed a 3. Syracuse needed an answer, and — as he’s done so many times over the years — Fair delivered it.He then hit two free throws and two jumpers to help put the Orange up one, 38-37, with 8:34 remaining. At that point, Ennis was just 2-of-12 and Jerami Grant had only taken one shot.For most of the game, though, Dayton locked Fair down. He said that the Flyers’ scrappy play allowed them to be quick to the ball and rotate defensively.And Dayton’s suffocating defense eventually proved to be too much, effectively ending Fair’s career.It’s a bittersweet ending for a player who’s been engrained in the program for four years. The loss stings now — and Fair was devastated after the game — but he started to smile a little more when asked to look back at his journey at SU.He talked about what coming back for a fourth year meant to him, and how he’s thrilled he made the decision to play one more season instead of going to the NBA. “Coming back this year has been fun,” Fair said. “I don’t regret anything. I wouldn’t trade it to be with any other team. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to meet a lot of people here, and that’s something you cherish for the rest of your life.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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